Issuu on Google+

Pesticide Testing on Lipton Tea Greenpeace 2012 In February 2012, Greenpeace collected random samples of teabags made by the world’s biggest tea brand – Lipton. Investigators randomly selected Lipton-branded green tea, jasmine tea, Iron Buddha tea and black tea from two supermarkets in Beijing. These four samples were sent to an accredited independent third-party laboratory to test for pesticides. Test results showed that in total 17 different kinds of pesticides were found on all four samples: samples of green tea, jasmine tea and Iron Buddha tea each contained at least nine different kinds of pesticides. Also found on the samples were traces of seven pesticides on Lipton-branded tea sold in China that have not been approved for use by the EU, while several pesticides on all samples exceeded EU’s maximum residue limit (MRL). Furthermore, traces of pesticides that have been banned by China for use on tea plants and have been classified as highly toxic by the World Health Organization (WHO) were found on the green tea, jasmine tea and Iron Buddha tea samples. Pesticides which may affect fertility, harm the unborn baby or cause heritable genetic damage were found in the above mentioned three samples as well. Test Findings 1. Three of the samples contained at least nine pesticides each In total, 17 different kinds of pesticides were detected on the four samples (see Table 1). Of these, the green tea and Iron Buddha tea samples showed traces of 13 different pesticides; the jasmine tea sample had nine kinds of pesticides; while the black tea sample had one kind of pesticide. 2. Three of the samples contained pesticides that are banned for use on tea plants and are highly toxic This investigation discovered that Lipton-branded green tea, Iron Buddha tea and jasmine


tea all showed traces of methomyl, a pesticide that has been banned for use on tea plants under “the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) of the People's Republic of China Notice 1586”. WHO classifies methomyl as a highly toxic pesticide. It is an insecticide and can damage the human nervous system. Traces of dicofol, a pesticide banned for use on tea plants (MoA Notice 199) as far back as 2002, were found on the Iron Buddha sample. Dicofol is an organochlorine pesticide, which the EU classifies not only as harmful when swallowed, but also when it gets in contact with skin 1. Traces of endosulfan, a pesticide banned for use on tea plants by MoA Notice 1586, were found on the green tea sample. In addition, traces of omethoate were also found on the green tea sample, which is classified as highly toxic by the WHO2. A comparison with EU pesticide legislations also reveals that the green tea, jasmine tea and Iron Buddha tea samples contained a total of seven pesticides not approved by the EU, including chlorfenapyr, omethoate and bifenthrin. 3. Three of the samples showed pesticides that may affect fertility, harm the unborn baby or cause heritable genetic damage Carbendazim and benomyl were found on the green tea, Iron Buddha tea and jasmine tea samples. The European Union (EU) classifies carbendazim and benomyl 3 as being capable of affecting fertility, harming the unborn baby, and causing heritable genetic damage. Endosulfan (found on the green tea sample) and dicofol (found on the Iron Buddha tea sample) were confirmed by an EU study4 in 2011 as known antiandrogen, while bifenthrin, found on three of the tea samples (green tea, Iron Buddaha tea and jasmine tea), was suspected of interfering with male hormones and affecting male fertility http://ec.europa.eu/sanco_pesticides/public/index.cfm?event=activesubstance.detail World Health Organisation: “The WHO Recommended Classification of Pesticides by Hazard and Guidelines to Classification 2009.” 3 http://ec.europa.eu/sanco_pesticides/public/index.cfm?event=activesubstance.detail 4 Orton et al. 2011, Widely Used Pesticideswith Previously Unknown Endocrine Activity Revealed as in Vitro Antiandrogens, Environmental Health Perspectives, vol 119, number6, June 2011 1 2


by the same study. Conclusions 1. Large-scale use of pesticides is common in the tea industry Test results from Greenpeace sampling on 10 well-known domestic and international tea brands, including Lipton, have shown that heavy use of pesticides is a widespread problem within the tea growing industry in China. On April 11, 2012, Greenpeace published a report “Pesticides: Hidden Ingredients in Chinese Tea” which found that all of the 18 samples tested from nine famous tea brands, including names such as Wuyutai, Zhang Yiyuan and Tianfu’s Tea, contained serious levels of pesticides. Not only were there a mixture of pesticides found but more than half of the samples showed traces of methomyl, a highly toxic pesticide that is banned for use on tea plants in China. Although a significant proportion of pesticides are removed during the production process, the fact that all of the tea samples showed pesticide indicates that pesticide use in the tea cultivation is very heavy. These famous tea brands have failed to adequately supervise their product supply chains and in particular, they have been turning a blind eye to the industry’s pesticide use and thus exposing their customers to the long-term health threats of pesticides. Lipton is the world’s biggest tea company, and it is also a very popular brand in China. However, this sampling investigation by Greenpeace clearly indicates that there are flaws in how Lipton oversees the use of pesticides by its tea suppliers: pesticide use is not only large-scale but also includes highly toxic chemicals. This is seriously at odds with how Lipton has taken great pains to publicize its image as a company that is actively promoting the development of sustainable agriculture 2. The world’s Number One Tea Brand has Fallen Short of Expectations Since multinational companies have a global development strategy they should also have


unified global strict product-quality standards and a product traceability and supply chain control system. Many consumers have exactly this opinion and therefore they have higher levels of trust towards multinational companies. However, this investigation detected traces of seven pesticides on Lipton-branded tea sold in China that even have not been approved for use by the EU. Moreover, each of the 4 samples contained at least one pesticide level exceeding EU’s MRL (see annex II). These tea products from Lipton that do not meet EU’s safety standard however are sold in China and are not likely sold in its home market. This indicates that Lipton is ignoring the health and the rights of its huge customer base in China, even to the extent that it has demonstrated unfair treatment towards its Chinese customers. In its “Corporate Responsibility Report”, Unilever (Holding company of Lipton brand) said that Lipton was its “first foreign enterprise to enter China; it has a long-term commitment to China, and it hopes to establish a sustainable business model in the country.” On its official Chinese website, Lipton claims that it only uses insecticides that have received formal state approval for use, and it pledges to only use “the minimum amount of chemicals to achieve the required effect.”

However, Greenpeace’s

investigation has shown that Lipton is certainly not doing its utmost to protect the health of tea farmers, or to improve food safety for its customers and to protect China’s environment. Lipton has given tacit permission to its manufacturers and suppliers or been complicit in the heavy use of a large number of different pesticides including highly toxic chemicals. Lipton's inconsistent behavior - saying one thing and doing another - is not only polluting China's valuable tea plantations and threatening the health of its customers, but even more so it has betrayed the trust that its customers have placed in the Lipton brand. Greenpeace Demands The heavy use of pesticides has already greatly undermined the safety of tea products and led to an environmental pollution situation that cannot be ignored. As the world’s biggest tea company, Lipton should employ its principles of sustainable agriculture to even


higher standards of practice, set an example to the entire tea industry, protect the health of tea consumers and tea producers, and prevent the pollution of tea plantations. Greenpeace strongly urges Lipton to act according to its promises, to have effective “from the tea garden to the teapot� product-tracing and pesticide control systems, and to immediately put in place the following measures to ensure the sustainable development of the tea manufacturing industry and to protect China’s agricultural environment: 1. Ensure a drastic reduction in pesticide use and stop using highly toxic pesticides. 2. Establish a good supply chain traceability system to effectively control the tea production process to ensure the above policy is carried out.


Annex I No

Sample

Date of purchase

Location of purchase

Place of production

1

Lipton Yellow Label Tea(50g) Lipton Green Tea(200g ) Lipton Jasmine Tea(200g ) Lipton Iron Buddha Tea(50g)

2012/03/13

Seven Eleven Store Jiqingli Jiahui Center, Beijing

2012/03/13

2

3

4

Price RMB

Batch number

Hefei, Anhui

Date of production y/m/d 2011/12/22

15.5

2011/12/22H2 01 19

Walmart Chaowai Store, Beijing

Hefei, Anhui

2012/01/06

29.9

2012/01/06H2 22 19

2012/03/13

Walmart Chaowai Store, Beijing

Hefei, Anhui

2011/12/13

41.8

2011/12/13H2 20 38

2012/03/13

Walmart Chaowai Store, Beijing

Hefei, Anhui

2011/10/31

12.5

2011/10/31H2 22 48


Annex II China MRLi (mg/kg)

EU MRLii (mg/kg)

Tea

No. of pesticides

Pesticides

Level(mg/ kg)

Lipton Yellow Label Tea Lipton Green Tea

1

2phenylpheno l

0.14

0.1

13

Chlorfenapyr

0.14

50

Sum of Endosulfan

0.01

Bifenthrin

0.05

5

2phenylpheno l

0.46

0.1

Imidacloprid

0.08

0.05

20

30

Banned in China

Yes

Status in EU

Not approve d Not approve d Not approve d

Harm unborn baby

Affect (male ) fertilit y

Yes Yes

May cause heritab le genetic damag e


Lipton Jasmine Tea

9

Pyridaben

0.01

0.05

Acetamiprid

0.13

0.1

Buprofezin

0.08

Carbendazi m (MBC)and benomyl

0.04

0.1

Chlorpyrifos

0.03

0.1

Omethoate

0.04

0.05

Methomyl

0.04

Propargite

0.02

5

Bifenthrin

0.04

5

2phenylpheno l Imidacloprid

0.28

0.1

0.09

0.05

10

3

0.05

0.1

Benom yl not approve d

Yes

Yes

Not approve d Yes

Not approve d Not approve d

Yes

Yes


Lipton Iron Buddha Tea

13

Pyridaben

0.01

0.05

Acetamiprid

0.2

0.1

Buprofezin

0.05

Carbendazi m (MBC)and bennomyl Chlorpyrifos

0.02

0.1

0.05

0.1

Methomyl

0.03

Dicofol

0.03

Cypermethri n

0.04

Chlorfenapyr

0.1

50

Bifenthrin

0.11

5

2phenylpheno l Tridemorph

0.27

0.1

0.02

0.05

10

3

20

0.05 Yes

0.1

Yes

20

Yes

Not approve d

Yes

Yes

0.5 Not approve d Not approve d

Not approve

Yes

Yes


d Imidacloprid

0.69

0.05

Acetamiprid

0.88

0.1

Buprofezin

0.04

Carbendazi m (MBC)and bennomyl Chlorpyrifos

0.07

0.1

0.05

0.1

Methomyl

0.22

3

0.1

Difenoconaz ole

0.15

10

0.05

10

0.05 Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes


i

According to GB 2763-2005 《Maximum Residue Level of Pesticide in Food》和 GB26130 -2010 《Maximum Residue Level of paraguat and other 54 Pesticides in Food》。 ii See EU Pesticide MRLs, http://ec.europa.eu/sanco_pesticides/public/index.cfm?event=activesubstance.selection


Pesticide testing on Lipton tea