There can be no doubt that in recent years food fraud has been the huge emerging issue in food safety. A wide range of food products have been the subject of food fraud in recent years with the horse meat scandal being the initial high profile case which opened a Pandora’s box of food fraud instances. As a result I really shouldn’t have been surprised that tea (or “tay” as we say in Monaghan) has been targeted by fraudsters in India but as an Irish person it almost felt personal. The proliferation of both independent and global coffee shop chains in Ireland in recent years has been remarkable and has altered the streetscapes of our cities and towns. Despite our new found love affair with coffee the Irish remain the second biggest drinkers of tea in the world, with Irish people consuming an average of 2.19kg of tea EACH per year and tea having a special role in Irish life. We are truly a nation of Mrs Doyle’s!
The Tea Board of India discovered the use of prohibited colourants in tea and have taken action to cancel the licence of the premises involved. It said there was absolutely no provision for the use of colour in tea which can lead to food safety, health, trade and quality problems. They advised all stakeholders to use the Food Safety Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) guidelines to ensure all tea produced is compliant with all regulations.
The issue of food fraud is a multi-faceted problem and combatting this will require action from all stakeholders including industry, consumers and regulatory agencies cooperating internationally. Food business operators must be aware of food fraud as an issue and risk assess their own business supply chains and take appropriate action. This may involve audits of suppliers, in house testing, monitoring economic factors to assess vulnerability of supply chains, including risk assessment as part of their HACCP and having a well-trained, informed and motivated management and staff. The EHAI Primary Food Safety Course is recognised as the industry gold standard by trainers, employers and enforcement agencies in food safety training and is a practical step you can take today to help protect your business.
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