• Jackie posted an update 9 years, 6 months ago

    I will drop this into the Tea News Forum board later but for now I’m adding it here. Interesting article about a large Chinese oolong recall in Japan due to higher than acceptable levels of pesticide.
    [bpfb_link url=’http://www.naharnet.com/stories/en/64128-japan-firm-recalls-china-tea-on-pesticide-fears’ title=’Japan Firm Recalls China Tea on Pesticide Fears — Naharnet’ image=’http://images2.naharnet.com/images/62051/w140.jpg?1355213944′]Japanese food company Ito En on Tuesday issued a huge recall of Chinese-grown tea after some of it was found to contain illegal levels of pesticide residue.[/bpfb_link]

    • That’s interesting. The news release didn’t say exactly which type of tea was being recalled; and no info on any Ito En websites either. Don’t know if they took down the recalled teas yet from their website. But the ones they have now – Tieguanyin and related teas have all fallen out of favor in Fujian because of high pesticide residue levels. A lot of that tea is sold at rock-bottom prices – just no market for it. That has prompted tea farmers to go online to try direct sales to tea drinkers in various online groups.

      • You know what @tea-author, I think it was oolong. Not sure where I got that from I’ll go take another look. Could these teas that are not popular in Fujian somehow end up on the US market?

        • @jackie, yeah, I know it was oolong from Fujian province, but which type of oolong? There are Southern Fujian oolongs and Northern Fujian oolongs. The Southern Fujian oolongs are today distinguished by their light roast, hence green color. Most notable of these is Tieguanyin and other Anxi teas such as Huangjingui, Benshan, Maoxie, etc.; and others from other regions such as Yongchun Foshou, Zhangping Shuixian.

          Now, there are many more other areas all producing similar types of tea in Southern Fujian – usually by small companies.

          I wouldn’t like to speculate on how high MRL level teas got exported from China to overseas – but some people here will do anything to make a buck. I wouldn’t be surprised if they mixed in a batch of high MRL tea with one that would pass safety inspections – to increase quantity; and thereby have a larger volume of tea on hand to sell (and at reduced cost to the supplier).

        • The reason why Tieguanyin had such high MRLs was because it was so wildly popular back in early 2000. I remember in 2006 when I lived in Longyan, the only tea drunk was Tieguanyin – no other teas at all available in that city – all tea stores only sold Tieguanyin. Coming back in 2012, now there’s little Tieguanyin – everyone is drinking everything but Tieguanyin. That was quite a shock and what a dramatic change in the space of 5 or 6 years.

          Because of high demand, particular attention to leaf appearance (green, nice leaves) and the fact that autumn tea tastes best (picked in September/October) when weather is still hot, thus lots of bugs – they sprayed a lot of pesticides.

          Now, the industry is learning from that mistake – but they still continue to make other missteps – like creating so much hype around a tea that the price is inflated to astronomical proportions (though historically, tea was also highly valued in ancient times).