India’s Assam’s Assamese tea industry has seen several problems, including a shortage of the country’s traditional black tea, a toxic brew often used to make tea.
Now, the Assamesean Tea Company (ATC) is seeking help from India’s government, which is investigating allegations of a tea importer, alleged to be linked to a toxic mix of pesticides and pesticides, including dioxins.
The company is facing accusations of failing to report the alleged toxic mix to authorities, the Associated Press reported.
The alleged mix includes a mixture of pesticides, fungicides and other herbicides, according to the AP, citing government officials.
A company spokesperson said the company does not comment on ongoing investigations.
A spokesman for the company, Rajesh Kumar, told The Associated Press that the company is in the process of taking remedial measures and would respond in the coming days.
“The company has received notification from the Government of Assam that it has received an anonymous complaint of a suspected pesticide mix that has contaminated the tea, according,” Kumar said.
The tea is called Assam Flower tea and is made from Assam-grown green tea leaves.
Assam is the second-largest producer of tea in the world, after China.
The AP reported that the tea was produced in the eastern Indian state of Haryana, and that it was distributed to the local community by the company.
The report also quoted the company as saying that the supplier was the owner of the tea and that no samples were collected.
“We are not aware of the supplier and do not know whether the tea came from him or from any other supplier,” Kumar told the AP.
Assam’s tea has long been popular with Assameses, who traditionally drink it as a part of their diet.
But since the introduction of new, chemical-free tea products, such as herbal tea and traditional black teas, many Assameseh have started to look for alternatives, according the AP report.
In the wake of the accusations against the alleged importer and the resulting shortages of Assameseed tea, Assamesecas tea companies, along with other tea makers and importers, have started using pesticides and herbicides to combat the problem.
The country’s state-run media reported in February that Assamesee tea companies had received more than 100 reports of pesticides being used on tea plants in Assam, according an online petition signed by tea lovers and activists calling for the government to take action against the importer.
In a statement, the government said it was in the final stages of its investigation and that the investigation was under the purview of the Chief Minister of Assams, and the chief of Assamas tea industry, according Reuters.
The tea importers and producers were also being probed, according a statement by the Assams Tea Board.
According to the report, Assams tea impiners in Haryasagarh and Bhaktapur districts in the western state of Rajasthan are also facing allegations that they sold toxic tea to local farmers, and are also being questioned.