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Errant estates given three months to clean up their act

23 January 2018 - 123   - 0

Estates suspected of producing tea with unusually high chemical residues have been given three months to clean up their act, authoritative sources said yesterday.

During this period, the estates will have to refrain from using any form of herbicide or weedicide, the sources said. Their produce will then be tested again. All measures will be taken to ensure Sri Lankan tea meets required standards. The decisions were taken at an urgent meeting convened by the Sri Lanka Tea Board with relevant stakeholders yesterday.

An independent international laboratory has found unusually high chemical residues in Sri Lankan tea. The report was conveyed to the Government on Sunday.

The tests were commissioned by the Sri Lanka Tea Board after it had “mentions” from various importers in Europe and Japan of chemical residues above acceptable levels.  The report was produced by an Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Good Laboratory Practices certified lab.

Most Sri Lankan tea exports are blends of produce from several factories. This made it difficult to identify the source of the problem even when a complaint was received from an importing country. However, over the past few months, the Sri Lankan authorities identified estates that were repeatedly mentioned and conducted checks.

The sources were reluctant to say how many factories were inspected and how many were found to be sources of contaminated tea. 

(NW)

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