Substandard tea being sold
MOHAMMAD BILAL TAHIR
September 15, 2012: Since the number of tea-addicts saw a steep rise in recent years, the elements involved in the business have started capitalising on its demand and are now selling substandard tea coated with artificial color and lentils’ skin, thus making it extremely difficult for consumers to distinguish between the counterfeit and the actual tea, it has been learnt.
Millions of tea lovers are genuinely unaware of the fact that their addiction is being capitalised upon by its dealers with the sale of counterfeit tea products. Packers and blenders said that despite the first-rate quality of Kenyan manufactured tea, its quantity of export has significantly been brought down due to increase in tea imports from India.
Research shows that tea is the most consumed beverage after water. It is a low caloric drink that contains elements of Manganese, Zinc, Potassium and Magnesium and makes it an important contribution towards the daily human mineral requirement. Tea also reduces fatigue and stimulates the central nervous system as well as increasing mental alertness. Daily intake of a cup of plain tea early in the morning regulates bowel movement while drinking tea between meals helps to counteract any potential for reduced iron absorption.
Various medical experts have expressed grave concern over the matter and cautioned that consumption of artificial tea was causing various diseases whose actual origin was still unreported. They urged the government to keep a strict check on the practice to safeguard the lives of people from potential diseases, from the consumption of tea.
Experts cautioned that citizens should be aware of the presence in the local market of cheap tea brands since that tea was not safe for human consumption. In a survey conducted by Business Recorder, it was learnt that substandard tea was being sold on many shops. “Original Kenyan tea has high rates, while the cost of importing tea from India and some other countries is very low as compared to Kenyan tea” retailer said.
He said that during the last 5 years tea import has increased manifold by 200 percent of total consumption of Pakistan. In 2010-2011 Indian tea imports in Pakistan soared by 17 percent while in 2011-2012 it reached 20 percent. Chairman Pakistan Tea Association (PTA) Hanif Janoo said that the prices of Indian tea were much less compared to the prices of Kenyan tea, adding that rising inflation in the country had encouraged Indian tea import. The tea import from India costs much less than Kenyan tea, he said, adding the quality of India tea is much lower as compared to Kenyan tea.