Pesticides/Chemicals in Chinese Tea


Completely off the Topic of Tea

Pesticides/Chemicals in Chinese Tea

Postby TeaMan » Sep 6th, '06, 18:47

Many teas from China have been found to have dangerously high levels of industrial pesticides (like DDT) and/or other potentially harmful chemicals.

http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2002/06/14/1023864346700.html

http://www.newstarget.com/001426.html

http://www.panna.org/resources/gpc/gpc_200012.10.3.17.dv.html

I was wondering, because while I love the tea from here, I find it sometimes makes me a little queasy (I’m in no way implying that it’s because of chemicals or a fertilizer, it just puzzles me when it happens. I don’t have a sensitive stomach and it just seems like a sudden naseaus feeling sometimes when drinking it that doesn’t last very long... and the tea is the only connection I can make.)

I noticed other people have a similar problem, some even vomit because of it.

http://www.teachat.com/viewtopic.php?t=170

I was just wondering if Adagio is certified organic and guaranteed to be free of pesticides and/or harmful chemicals, and any information about it would be appreciated. Thanks.

-Tom
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Postby teaspoon » Sep 7th, '06, 12:06

Tom, adagio is not certified organic.

~tsp
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Postby jogrebe » Sep 7th, '06, 12:34

Here is what Adagio says about it on their questions page:

"Are you teas organic?"

While some of our teas are organic, most are not. This is simply due to the fact that experience has show us that most organic teas are simply lower quality. Currently, our only organic teas are our Rooibos "Red" teas, which are the delicious exception to the rule.

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"Are your teas Fair Trade?"

There is only a handful of Fair Trade tea estates in the world (although several tea companies buy from these estates)! So few, in fact, that anything that they put their name on is exponentially more expensive for what generally turns out to be significantly lower quality.

We support the idea, but have decided to wait until the quality catches up to the hype!

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"Are your teas kosher?"

Good news: Any unflavored tea is naturally Kosher!

However, we haven't paid the fee to get these teas to be officially Kosher certified, so cannot mark them as "Kosher."
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Postby Betty Klang » Dec 12th, '06, 18:08

Hello!

I have to say I'm WORRIED about this little detail as well...

I bought loads of tea from adagio over the last few months, but while I'm hoping to be drinking something that's healthy for me I might be actually ingesting large quantities of pesticides :-X
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Postby Chip » Dec 12th, '06, 20:59

Betty Klang wrote:Hello!

I have to say I'm WORRIED about this little detail as well...

I bought loads of tea from adagio over the last few months, but while I'm hoping to be drinking something that's healthy for me I might be actually ingesting large quantities of pesticides :-X


The more questions on this issue that are raised by us...the consumer, the better. Anytime I mention this little tid bit...I sense people are rolling their eyes.

This is a real issue, we must question our vendors about this adamently, they in turn can ask their suppliers...adamently...and so on and so on. But it all starts with US!!!!!!!! So ask away and keep asking.

Much is being done in this regard. China has been a long term abuser of chemicals and their environment is showing the stresses that this causes to the entire eco system. But I believe they are trying.

One vendor I use in China sent one of his teas in which I found a contaminant to a government agency for testing and certification, which by the way I have an emailed copy. The first thing they test for is DDT and another pesticide. Happily it came back with a clean bill of health.

By the way, another major contaminant is lead caused mainly by air pollution.
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Postby Betty Klang » Dec 13th, '06, 15:04

I've only started drinking tea religiously a month ago (after a trip to europe...where everyone drank tea all day long :)

Is there a big pesticide problem persist in Japan?

I have to say I got a sample of Gyokuro from Adagio and it was LOVELY. Then I got more to send as a gift... But after starting to investigate I got a little nervous and...err....bought organic Gyokuro from another company :-X (sorry!) ... Haven't received it yet so we'll see...

I've started getting a lot of allergies about 10 years ago and in the past 3 years and have made an attempt to try and get as much organic foods and supplements as possible and things have gotten better sooo...

Yes, I want to stay informed on this issue. I think it's important for my health :)

p.s. I also love Yunnan Gold (will now go read up on how that's grown :) )
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Postby Chip » Dec 13th, '06, 16:45

Although I have heard more on this issue regarding Chinese tea, I have also heard of issues regarding Japanese tea as well although not as serious. As a result I carefully choose who I do tea business with in order to hopefully reduce the potential.

The important thing I feel is to communicate your concerns to your tea vendors, get answers from them (if I sense evasive manuvers...they are history), and become as informed as possible...as a result I feel pretty confident of my purchases. But I never let my guard down.

But to be honest, there are chemicals everywhere...not just tea.
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Postby Betty Klang » Dec 14th, '06, 18:28

Well... I brought it up in this forum because this site (i thought) is part of adagio teas.

Was hoping maybe my "vendors" might see/respond to some of the concerns ;)


cheers
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Postby Chip » Dec 14th, '06, 18:48

Betty Klang wrote:Well... I brought it up in this forum because this site (i thought) is part of adagio teas.

Was hoping maybe my "vendors" might see/respond to some of the concerns ;)


cheers


They usually are more present on the forum, but I hear they are busy with filling holiday orders. Adagio, does administer and own this forum...so it is a good place to get their attention in a more open public forum. Of course they have a contact info page on their site also which you can get to by simply clicking on the adagio teas logo in the upper right corner.

But I am all for airing this issue as much as possible.

Have a great TEAday...
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Postby maxman » Dec 14th, '06, 21:07

I will definitely be following up on this. Its the first I've heard.
I wish Adiago would respond.
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tea buyer's reply

Postby michael » Dec 15th, '06, 11:14

Being an infrequent poster to this forum, I should introduce myself as the person responsible for Adagio's tea purchases. I share your concern about pesticides in tea, and suggest we frame the question as one of degrees and not absolutes. High levels of pesticide is a cause for alarm, while low levels have been found to have no adverse effect. There is only a small number of pesticides that the Food and Drug Administration bans outright. For all others, the FDA has established a level below which its scientist consider any effects to be negligible.

The articles cited at the beginning of this thread, similar to others I've seen on this topic, focus on the analysis of the dry leaf. Often overlooked is the fact that tea is not consumed dry. A proper analysis should focus on traces of pesticides that make their way into the cup, which are a small fraction of the levels found in the dry leaf. Caffeine in tea offers a similar dynamic. Pound for pound, dry tea leaves contain more caffeine than coffee. However, little of it ends up in the cup. In fact, a cup of black tea usually contains half the caffeine of a similar amount of coffee.

What is the industry doing to reduce this number further? While lowering the amount of pesticide applied, and developing tea varieties better suited to naturally ward off pests, tea growers have also been switching to pesticides with a low water solubility (an ability to dissolve in water). The confluence of these efforts is producing teas that are analogous in their health properties to those grown organically. Organic farming continues to be better for the environment. As far as your health is concerned, the differences are negligible.

What may explain the queasiness your feel after drinking tea? The likely culprit is caffeine. Having the enviable task of sampling every tea selected for sale at Adagio, I often time consume more than 20 cups a day. I find that doing this with white or green varieties, which are low in caffeine, suits my stomach better than doing the same with black tea. So if queasiness continues to be an issue, I suggest forgoing black tea, and opting for those that are either lower or devoid of caffeine.
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Postby maxman » Dec 17th, '06, 20:22

So....how much ends up in the cup?
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Postby Chip » Dec 17th, '06, 21:47

maxman wrote:So....how much ends up in the cup?


Thank-you Michael for participating in this serious discussion!!!

And what is Adagio doing proactively to promote safeTEA???

And what about the American tea industry as a whole...there is power in numbers...

Is there a % of tea that is tested that comes into the country?

Has DDT and other unsafe chemical use been totally banned in tea growing regions...most specifically China. What are these growing regions doing to enforce any such bans or is it just lip service?

Shed some light on this, please...and give us a ray of hope. But, we need to know more than generalities on this subject...we need to know details and specific actions that are being taken, if any.

Respectfully submitted...
Chip
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Postby michael » Dec 19th, '06, 11:21

So....how much ends up in the cup?


The amount of pesticide that makes the leap from leaf to cup varies according to its water solubility. A study in the Journal of Agricultural Food Chemistry that addressed this very question (will gladly provide copy, it's only five pages long) found that the least soluble of pesticides contribute less than one percent, whereas those most soluble transfer about a third. Luckily, the number of pesticides whose transition from leaf to cup is less than one percent is extensive. The US Tea Association has taken a lead on this issue, disseminating these findings through the tea-growing regions, and urging tea farmers to switch to low soluble pesticides.

With regard to the inspection of tea for DDT and other harmful substances, this takes place in both China and the US. All imports of tea must be cleared by the FDA, though the testing of samples is random, with only a small percentage analyzed in the lab. The inspection on the Chinese side is more thorough, with all shipments undergoing an extensive analysis, a process that has recently been taking two weeks.

As a side note, The Economist last week published an article that should be of interest to all following this thread. Will gladly receive your feedback.
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