Food Safety Focus (35th Issue, June 2009) – Food Incident Highlight
Tea Leaves and Pesticides
Between April and June, the Department of Health in Taiwan detected pesticide residues in some imported tea leave products at levels breaching Taiwan's standards.
Pesticides are applied to prevent crops from infestation by insects, fungi and other organisms. Small amounts of pesticides may remain in crops following its application or as a result of environmental contamination. At the low levels of pesticide residues detected in these reported incidents, adverse effects are unlikely upon normal consumption of tea.
Tea leaves are routinely tested under the food surveillance programme of the Centre for Food Safety. All tea leaves tested in 2007 and 2008 were found satisfactory for pesticide residues. The public is advised to rinse tea leaves in hot water before use to reduce the risk.