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Tea is one of the widely consumed beverages in India , having high amounts of naturally occurring anti-oxidants. However very few people know that locally available unbranded common tea is often adulterated with impurities like artificial colour, that is harmful for health. Being unaware of the addition of harmful colours to common tea, consumers continue to buy them, as it turns out to be the cheapest option available.
According to FSSAI (Food Safety & Standards Authority of India), the apex food regulatory body in India: “FSSAI permits use of certain synthetic colors in specific food items and tea is not included in that list. Color adulteration is strictly prohibited from consumer health point of view and coloring of tea has gradually become a matter of serious concern these days. The treatment of teas with various coloring matters comes under the head of adulterants.”
In its article titled ‘Coloring of Teas’, Tea Board of India states that color adulteration, a growing menace, is strictly prohibited from consumer health point of view. The report also states that sub-standard tea leaves were used to be colored with Bismark Brown, potassium blue, turmeric, indigo, plumbago etc. to impart some favourite color or glossiness to the product.
Hence consumers are advised to be cautious before buying & consuming tea. A simple test, of adding tea powder to cold water, can help identify adulterated color tea, wherein the artificial colour immediately dissolves and releases into water.