FAITTA Welcomes The Commerce Ministry Order To Route 100 per cent Dust Tea Through Auctions

Kolkata (West Bengal) [India], March 4: The Federation of All India Tea Traders Association ( FAITTA) — the apex body of Tea Traders, Buyers, Packers and Retailers of Tea in India reiterates its total commitment towards offering Food Safety compliant Teas to both Indian and global markets.

The FSSA enjoins all Food Business Operators (FBOs) to adhere to the quality and safety Standards prescribed under the Act and Regulations in furtherance of which the FBOs are mandated to conduct — as per laid down parameters.

FAITTA has, in furtherance of this position, conducted over the last few years several rounds of Tests and reported the results to appropriate authorities.

FAITTA has always underscored the position that the Quality and Food Safety parameters are set at the primary tea production and manufacturing stage over which Buyers and Packers have no direct control.

It is however the duty and obligation of Buyers, Blenders, Packers and Retailers of Tea to adhere to the FSSA provisions and ensure that their sourcing/ procurement processes are fully aligned. This can only happen when there is adequate visibility and transparency of Food Safety compliant teas in the market.

The Public Auction system in India regulated by the Tea Board under the Tea Act and Tea Marketing Control Order  and accounts for close to 50℅ of total tea sales. Auctions therefore provides a significant gateway for the supply chain to operate making for the transparency and visibility which has been referred to earlier.

In point of fact the prevailing Regulations stipulate that all teas offered for sale through the Public Auction system carry the Promissory / Warranty that they are in full compliance of the quality and Food Safety standards prescribed under FSSA and its Regulations.

FAITTA’s view that food safety testing  needs significant ramping up is in furtherance of implementing this Promissory / Warranty as a perquisite for buying and trading in quality and Food Safety compliant tea.

FAITTA therefore welcomes the recent Order issued by the Ministry of Commerce Govt of India mandating 100% routing of all Dust grade teas (with the exception of exempted categories) through the Auction system.

Dust grade teas constitute around 20% of total tea manufactured.  This is a limited yet significant beginning and the Order is a bold and decisive step towards subsequent structuring and implementation of a stepped up process of testing and reporting of food safety results prior to sale.

In summary the FAITTA’s positive response to the Order is guided by the following considerations
— the routing of all Dust grades provide a significant starting point to put around 20% of total manufacture under a much needed scanning process.
— visibility and transparency through this scanning and assurance will boost Buyers confidence to operate in the Auction thereby enhancing the attractiveness of the system and price discovery.
— this will be win win situation for all stakeholders in the tea supply chain  as more statistically significant quality and food safety assurance steps will enhance and reinforce the healthy and safety attributes of Tea among consumers. 

In deference to the FSSAI’s request FAITTA has worked on a comprehensive Food Safety Road Map for Tea which is shortly due for formal submission to the FSSAI.

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