Banned pesticides have been detected in Lipton, the world’s best-selling tea brand as well as other Chinese domestic brands, claims Greenpeace.
In a report posted on its website, Greenpeace said it collected random samples of Lipton’s green tea, jasmine tea, Iron Buddha tea and black tea from two super markets in Beijing and sent the samples to a third-party for tests.
The report says Methomyl, which has been banned by the Ministry of Agriculture, was found in Lipton’s green tea, jasmine tea and Iron Buddha tea. Dicofol, banned in China since 2002, was found on Lipton’s Iron Buddha tea, and endosulfan which is not allowed on tea leaves, was found on Lipton’s green tea.
17 different kinds of pesticide residues were found on Lipton’s 4 samples. Seven of the pesticides found were not approved by the European Union.
Nine domestic tea brands were also accused of testing positive for pesticides in an earlier report released by Greenpeace. In that exercise, 12 of the total 18 samples were found to have contained banned pesticides.
In response, Unilever, Lipton’s parent company, says all Lipton’s products are “in total accordance with Chinese regulations on pesticide residues and are safe and qualified products.”
However, as Greenpeace highlights in a tweet on its Tencent microblog, Chinese regulations on pesticides in tea production is much looser than those in Europe. While the EU has in place restrictions on some 400 different types of pesticides, China has only regulated some 20 pesticides.
“Lipton’s market is global. It is crystal clear that these products would not be allowed to be sold in Europe,” said Wang Jing, Greenpeace’s Project Director, to Radio France International. “That means Lipton is selling its products which cannot meet EU standards to countless uninformed Chinese consumers.”
This is not the first time that Lipton has been involved in quality scandals in China. Last year, its oolong and Iron Buddha tea were both found to contain excessive rare earth content.