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Centre to Take Efforts to Stop Blending of 'Low-Quality' Foreign Tea with Premium Indian Teas

The Tea board of India took a major step to curb the blending of teas of inferior qualities with teas of Indian origin from Darjeeling, Kangra, Assam (Orthodox) and Nilgiri (Orthodox). Registered buyers have been directed to avoid blending imported tea of inferior quality with teas from these regions.

Ayushi Raina
Black Tea
Black Tea

The Indian Tea Board took a major move to prevent substandard teas from being blended with Indian teas from Darjeeling, Kangra, Assam (Orthodox), and Nilgiri (Orthodox). Teas from these places should not be blended with inferior imported teas, according to registered purchasers. 

"In light of inferior quality teas being imported and blended with teas from Darjeeling, Kangra, Assam (Orthodox), and Nilgiri (Orthodox), it is directed that no registered purchasers of teas should blend any ported tea with teas from the aforementioned locations from today," the board states in a statement. 

The commerce ministry stated that "all importers have been asked to guarantee that the provenance of imported tea is specified in all their sale invoices and not to pass off imported tea as teas of Indian origin." Failure to follow these directions, the board warned, "Will invite action as deemed fit." 

Aside from that, Darjeeling tea manufacturers have been told not to buy green leaves from beyond the GI (geographical indication) area.

Darjeeling Tea, like Kangra Paintings, Tirupati Laddu, Nagpur Orange, and Kashmir Pashmina, has registered a Geographical Indication (GI) to express a guarantee of quality and uniqueness that is distinctive of its region of origin. 

PK Bezboruah, the chairman of the Tea Board of India, had previously expressed concern about cheap imported tea from Nepal, Vietnam, and Indonesia being blended with local teas, lowering the quality and price of domestic teas. According to data collected by the board, tea imports surged by 34% from January to August this year compared to the same period previous year. 

Surprise inspections have been conducted by the commerce ministry to guarantee that registered customers follow their orders. "On November 11, a surprise inspection of three units in Siliguri was undertaken, and samples were extracted for testing," according to the ministry. 

Because custom duty is not imposed on tea imports intended for re-exports, the majority of blended teas now accessible in the market are for re-exports; however, a small amount is absorbed in the local market. 

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