If you like many others swear by your daily cup of tea, you must make sure it is not adulterated to reap its maximum benefit. A moderate amount of tea can actually be beneficial for you as some studies have shown that tea being rich in flavonoids and antioxidants can reduce your risk of heart diseases. It is linked to lowering cholesterol and improving blood vessel function. But when tea is adulterated, its health benefits do not remain the same. It can even be harmful to your health, depending on what substance is used to adulterate it.
The adulterants commonly present in tea are exhausted tea leaves and colouring substances. The use of pre-used tea leaves and processed and coloured tea could put you at risk of liver disorders and other health problems.
Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) regularly posts videos to inform the general public about common adulterations and the way to test the authenticity of food products. A recent video is on checking adulteration of tea with exhausted tea leaves:
Here are the steps to check adulteration in your tea with exhausted leaves:
Take a filter paper. Spread the tea leaves on filter paper. Sprinkle with water to make filter paper wet. Now wash the filter paper under tap water. Then observe the stains on the filter paper against the light.
No staining will be observed on the filter paper with unadulterated tea leaves. The filter paper with adulterated tea leaves will have blackish-brown coloured strain on it.
Watch the video here:
The next time you suspect there is adulteration in your tea, you must go for this easy and quick test to verify its authenticity.
India is the second-largest producer of tea in the world, with per capita consumption amounting to 19% of the total worldwide consumption. The domestic population in India consumes around 76% of the total tea produced in the country. With such a large tea-drinking population, the news of tea adulteration is not surprising.
Several complaints constantly come up about manufacturers making fake tea powder by roasting the outer shell of cashew nuts until they acquire a burned texture. It is then mixed with quality tea powder. Very often, manufacturers also add banned colours to the tea.
In August 2019, the FSSAI had seized 1.5 tonnes of adulterated tea dust from Coimbatore. Designated Officer of FSSAI K Tamilselvan had said, “Some of the 500 g tea dust packets we seized had 50 g sachet of tea dust mixed with a high concentration of colourants. This sachet was meant to be mixed with genuine tea dust to get strong colour. Several other packets contained tea dust which was mixed with colourants and ready for use.”