Plant Protection Code rolls out to make tea a safer beverage
The document deals with safe usage of crop protection products and methodologies.
Plant Protection Code (PPC), a set of guidelines for regulating the chemical inputs in tea cultivation, was rolled out on January 1, 2015. The aim is to make Indian tea a safe and healthy drink.
The PPC is a comprehensive document, which deals with safe usage of crop protection products and methodologies that would be followed to reduce pesticide residues in tea.
The code encourages tea growers to critically review their plant protection formulations (PPF), which are a list of chemicals that are used in tea. The code is based on the Codex Alimentarius, which is a set of international food standards and guidelines.
Tea Board Chairman Siddharth said a roll-out was decided with some modifications. These include asking the small tea growers to give a declaration of their output conforming to the PPC before it is sent to the factories. This was necessary as currently this sector accounts for over 30 per cent of the Indian tea output.
The awareness campaign, now on among small tea growers, would be continued, a Tea Board said.
It may be mentioned here that recently Greenpeace had released a report alleging presence of pesticide residues in Indian tea. The Tea Board and industry had flayed the report.
The PPF, evolved by Tea Board, has detailed the chemicals that can be used in tea plantations making some exceptions for South India. It said that chemical use should be restricted not only in tea estates, but also near water bodies, wildlife habitats and human dwelling to check contamination.
PPF covers insecticides, fungicides, herbicides and bio pesticides. Tea Board noted that in spite of using PPFs, the tea industry loses nearly 30 per cent of its crop due to pests, weeds and diseases. The tea research institutes, which were engaged in the PPF exercise, have ensured that their recommendations comply with food safety standards as stipulated by the Food Safety & Standards Authority of India.