Tea Board makes country of origin details mandatory to curb illegal imports

The Tea Board is seeking to curb the movement of illegally imported tea within the country, seeking to cancel the relevant buyer licences if consignments don’t mention the country of origin and the full address of the importer.

It has come to the notice of the Tea Board that 60.35 million kgs of tea have been imported in the past three years. Of this, 23.43 million kg has been re-exported, while 36.92 million kgs have been sold in India, which cannot be traced. The move will help the Darjeeling tea industry the most as it has been suffering from the onslaught of Nepal teas for many years.

“The violation of Tea Board’s order will lead to the cancellation of buyer licences, which will debar the firm from accessing the auctions,” said Kaushik Basu, secretary of Darjeeling Tea Association.

The Tea Board has found out that teas imported are sold without complying with the guidelines laid out in the Food Safety Standard (Packaging & Labeling) Regulations 2011.

Sanjay Bansal, chairman of Ambootia Group, a leading Darjeeling tea manufacturer, said: “The move will protect the interest of the consumers who have been paying more for cheap quality teas. And definitely, this will help the Darjeeling tea trade, which has been asking the Tea Board for the last 10 years to put a check on the quality of imported teas that are being sold in the domestic market.”

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