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Firms claim tea up to par

Updated: 2012-04-13 17:26


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Tea enterprises in China responded Thursday to allegations from a green group that nine domestic tea brands were found to contain pesticide residues. The enterprises said that their tea products measure up to national standards, Beijing Times reported Friday.

"Our tea fields have stopped using pesticides like methomyl," said directors of Wuyutai and Zhangyiyuan, two of the accused tea producers, "but ‘no use’ does not amount to ‘zero existence’ as long as the residues meet the state requirements."

Tenfu’s Tea, a third producer having entered the Hong Kong market, has received no warning from the regulator about its tea quality, according to a company circular Thursday.

It is wrong to equate tea containing pesticides with unsafeness since residual pesticides and excessive pesticides are concepts that are worlds apart, said Wu Xiduan, general secretary of China Tea Association.

The association has commissioned experts to conduct a thorough safety assessment of the tea sold in the market, he added.

The report issued by the green group is teeming with misguided and lop-sided information, said Weng Kun, general secretary of National Tea Standardization Technical Committee.

As the absolute tea consumption is very small and the majority of pesticides are only slightly soluble in water, it is safe to drink tea if the residues are kept under par, Weng said.

In April 2011, the central government mandated maximum residues on 54 pesticides, including methomyl and endosulfan, which are banned chemicals in tea growing.