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For Physicochemical Parameters

Total Flavonoids

  • Indian Standard has not specified any requirement for total flavonoids.
  • Black tea develops different types of flavonoids. These flavonoids have antioxidant abilities and may help prevent heart disease and some types of cancer.
  • Total flavonoids were found in the range of 6.25 percent–55.69 per cent w/w (mass/mass). Red Label had the highest amount and Goodricke the lowest.

Theaflavins

  • There is no standard requirement for theaflavins either.
  • Theaflavins were found in the range of 0.78 percent–2.15 per cent w/w mass/mass). Marvel had the highest amount and Taj Mahal the lowest.
  • Theaflavins are primarily responsible for the darker colour and stronger flavour of black tea. These have been proved to be effective as antioxidants and have many uses – from treating headaches and staving off allergies to protecting the heart and reducing cancer risk.

Crude fibre

  • Crude fibre is a measure of the quantity ofindigestible components present in foods. These components have little food value but because of their effect on the digestive system, they are thought to help with such problems as diabetes and high levels of blood cholesterol. Crude fibre is an important parameter in the quality evaluation of tea and influences its sensory properties.
  • As per FSS Regulations and Indian Standard, crude fibre in tea shall not be more than 16.5 per cent.
  • Crude fibre was found within the specified limit of 16.5 per cent.

Pesticide residues

  • Pesticide is a chemical or biological agent (such as a virus, bacterium, antimicrobial, or disinfectant) that deters, incapacitates, kills, or otherwise discourages pests. Pesticides may cause acute and delayed health effects in people who are exposed. Such adverse health effects range from simple irritation of the skin and eyes to more severe effects like affecting the nervous system, mimicking hormones causing reproductive problems, and causing cancer.
  • We have conducted tests for following pesticides residues as per requirements of FSSAI.
  • Dicofol: Maximum permissible limit is 5.0 mg/kg.
  • It was not detected in any of the samples.
  • Ethion: Maximum permissible limit is 5.0 mg/kg.
  • It was not at all detected in 12 brands. Traces of ethion were found in Rungta’s and Goodricke but these were well below the specified limit. Thus, all the brands passed this test.
  • Fenazaquin: Maximum permissible limit is 3 mg/kg.
  • It was not detected in any of the samples.
  • Glufosinate ammonium: Maximum permissible limit is 0.01 mg/kg.
  • It was not detected in any of the samples.
  • Glyphosate: Maximum permissible limit is 1.0mg/kg.
  • It was not detected in any of the samples.
  • Propargite: Maximum permissible limit is 10.0mg/kg.
  • It was not detected in any of the samples.
  • Quinalphos: Maximum permissible limit is 0.01mg/kg.
  • Traces of this pesticide were found in Rungta’s– at 0.04 mg/kg, these went above the specified limit. Hence, this brand is not recommended for consumption.

Acid-insoluble ash

  • Acid-insoluble ash indicates the presence of impurities like sand, dirt and dust in food. As per Indian Standard and FSS Regulations, acid-insoluble ash in tea should not be more than 1.0 per cent by mass.
  • Acid-insoluble ash was found within the specified limits. It was lowest in Rungta’s (0.11 per cent) and highest in Fresh & Pure (0.64 per cent).

Total ash

  • As per Indian Standard and FSS Regulations, total ash in tea shall be between 4.0 per cent and 8.0 per cent.
  • Total ash in all brands was within the permissible range.

Water-soluble ash

  • Water-soluble ash is part of the total ash dissolved by water under the conditions specified in Indian Standard. As per both FSS Regulations and Indian Standard, the water-soluble ash component of total ash shall be a minimum 45 per cent by mass.
  • The water-soluble ash component of total ash was found to be above the minimum requirement of 45 percent. Thus, all brands passed in this test.

Water extract

  • It refers to the soluble matter extracted from a test portion by boiling water under the conditions specified in Indian Standard, expressed as a percentage by mass on a dry basis. As per both Indian Standard and FSS Regulations, water extract shall not be less than 32 per cent.
  • All samples met the requirement set by the standards. Water extract was highest in Red Label (63.52 percent) and lowest in Nova (32.81 per cent).

Alkalinity of water soluble ash expressed as KOH

  • Alkalinity of the water-soluble ash is either the amount of acid required to neutralise the aqueous extract of the total ash or the amount of alkali equivalent to this acid. As per FSS Regulations, it should be between 1.0 per cent and 3.0 per cent of total ash; as per Indian Standard, it should be in the range of 1.19 percent–2.62 per cent.
  • All the tea samples were found within the specified limit.

Added colouring matter

  • Colour adulteration is not acceptable from the point of view of consumers’ health. As per FSS Regulations and Indian Standard, colouring matter shall be negative/absent in tea.
  • Colouring matter was absent in all the samples.

Iron particles

  • The national standards have capped the maximum limit for iron particles in tea powder at 250 mg per kilogram.
  • Iron filings were not found in any of the brands tested.

Lead

  • Lead contamination of food poses a serious health issue. Consumption of even a small amount of lead can cause lifelong health problems and repeated exposure will have lasting and detrimental effects.
  • As per Indian Standard and FSS Regulations, lead in tea shall not be more than 10 mg/kg.
  • Lead was found within the specified limit in all the 14 brands.

Copper

  • Copper is an essential mineral required by the body for bone and connective tissue production, and for coding specific enzymes that carry out a range of functions, from eliminating free radicals to producing melanin. However, overconsumption of copper may lead to cramps, diarrhoea and vomiting in the short term, and to depression, schizophrenia,hypertension, senility and insomnia in the long term. Copper in large amounts can even be poisonous.
  • As per Indian Standard and FSS Regulations,copper in tea shall not be more than 150 mg/kg.
  • Copper was found within the specified limit in all the brands.

Aflatoxins

  • Aflatoxins are poisonous and cancer-causingchemicals that are produced by certain moulds(Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus) that grow in soil, decaying vegetation, hay and grains. Aflatoxins are highly toxic compounds and can cause both acute and chronic toxicity in humans and many other animals. Four types of aflatoxins are naturally found in foods. These are aflatoxins B1, B2, G1 and G2. Aflatoxin B1 is the most commonly found in food and also the most toxic.
  • There is no standard requirement for aflatoxins.These are expected to be absent in tea.
  • Aflatoxins were not detected in any of the samples.


For General Qualities

Marking

    The following details shall be marked on each pack:
  • Name and address of manufacturer
  • Name of the product
  • Net weight
  • Month and year of manufacture
  • Batch number
  • The words ‘best before’ (month and year)
  • Tea Board registration number if flavour is added
  • Declaration if flavour and flavouring substance is added
  • Green dot denoting vegetarian status
  • Maximum retail price (MRP)
  • FSSAI license number
  • Customer care details

Packing

  • Tea shall be packed in closed, clean and dry containers made of material that does not lead to any deterioration in the quality of the tea.
  • Red Label and Taj Mahal had double packing (flexible as well as hard paperboard). All other samples had flexible thermo plastic packing.

Net weight

  • The weight of the product is measured and compared with the declared values on the pack.The net weight should be within the tolerance limit permitted in Legal Metrology Rules.
  • Net weight of all the tested brands was found as claimed and they scored equally well on this parameter.