Tea Board push for quality check of Nepal brew

Tea Board push for quality check of Nepal brew
Kolkata, Feb 18 (PTI) Amid concerns that CTC variety from Nepal was being sold as Darjeeling tea to the consumers, Tea Board has asked the commissioner of customs, Kolkata (land), to check the quality of brew arriving from the country at FSSAI-accredited laboratories.
According to a Tea Board official, brew from the neighbouring country cannot be banned as the treaty signed between the two countries has provisions for its import.
As per the treaty, India imports tea from Nepal at zero duty, the official said.
"As the plucking season in Darjeeling has arrived, we have asked the customs department to check if the quality of tea from Nepal conforms to FSSAI parameters," he told PTI on Tuesday.
Arun Kr Ray, the deputy chairman of Tea Board, said the agency has sought help from a laboratory in Mumbai, which can differentiate between Darjeeling and Nepal tea.
"We have asked the customs authorities to discard tea coming from Nepal if it does not comply with the FSSAI norms," Ray said.
While Darjeeling produces around nine million kilogramme of orthodox variety annually, nearly an equal amount of the brew is imported from Nepal under the treaty.
Secretary-general of the Indian Tea Association (ITA), Arijit Raha, said that the entire volume of tea from Nepal should be thoroughly checked at the land customs points.
"Any attempt to sell Nepalese CTC variety as Darjeeling should be thwarted," he said.
Earlier, Ray had said traceability of Darjeeling tea was a cause for concern, and the ITA has expressed doubt over the quality being sold in the market.
He had also suggested that the entire volume of Darjeeling tea produced be sold through auction, with a view to discover the real price and stop unhealthy practices.
In 2019, around eight million kilogramme of Darjeeling tea was produced, of which four million kilogramme have been exported. PTI DC RMS RMS
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Amid concerns that CTC variety from Nepal was being sold as Darjeeling tea to the consumers, Tea Board has asked the commissioner of customs, Kolkata (land), to check the quality of brew arriving from the country at FSSAI-accredited laboratories.

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