Tea Board issues fresh guidelines with eye on quality

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KOLKATA, March 13 (AGENCIES): The Tea Board of India has issued fresh guidelines for maintaining tea quality so that the country can remain globally competitive and sustain the domestic consumption. In a notice, the board said that tea occupied an important place not only because of its contribution to the country’s economy but also because the sector provided livelihood to a large number of people.

Therefore, adherence to quality standards is of utmost importance in the world and India, it said. In a similar guideline issued earlier, the Tea Board had asked the tea growers to refrain from plucking before first flush this year for maintaining quality.

An industry observer said that while these guidelines already existed in the Tea Act of 1953, they were hardly enforced by the Tea Board.Tea Board, as the apex body for the tea industry, has undertaken several measures to maintain the quality of Indian tea by issuing directives from time to time to the tea producers, buyers, packagers and others to ensure that best quality teas were manufactured during the first flush season, it said.

As part of its overall inspection if the planters were adhering to the guidelines, Tea Board would draw random      samples from tea factories and from stocks of packet and bulk tea stored in warehouses. According to the new guidelines, the cost of such sampling and analysis would have to be borne by the owner company. Those teas which fail to conform to the standards shall be treated as tea waste and destroyed.  Stringent action would also be initiated against the manufacturers or licensee as per the provisions of the Tea Act including suspension or cancellation of license.

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