UPASI TEA RESEARCH FOUNDATION Tea Research Institute Nirar Dam PO, Valparai – 642 127, Coimbatore Dist., India
RejoinderUPASI TEA RESEARCH FOUNDATION REJOINDER TO THE ARTICLE TITLED “‘RUDE FOOD BY VIR SANGHVI: TEA TALES PUBLISHED IN THE HINDUSTAN TIMES – DATED 13TH JUNE 2020.Updated: Jun 25, 2020 18:37 IST
Dr. Victor J. Ilango R., Director-in-charge, UPASI Tea Research Foundation in a rejoinder to the article titled, “Rude Food by Vir Sanghvi: Tea Tales”, published in the Hindustan Times on 13th June 2020, stated that the article paints a broad brush on the Indian tea sector based on certain selected information, most of which are not verified and incorrectly – portrays Indian CTC teas.
On Fluoride content in teas, studies carried out by UPASI Tea Research Foundation, which is recognized by the National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL) and Department of Science and Technology (DST), has proved that the fluoride concentrations in both the orthodox and CTC black teas is within the prescribed limit of 350 mg/kg as per the standards of European Union. Black teas collected from different producers were analyzed for fluoride content and the mean value is 266.5 mg/kg. The fluoride content in the tea infusions prepared from these Orthodox and CTC teas is less than 4mg/kg. The National Academy of Science (NAS), USA recommends a dietary reference intake (DRI) 4 mg/litre of fluoride per day for adults with a tolerance limit of 10 mg/day. Therefore, both orthodox teas and CTC teas are equally safe to drink and are in fact good source of daily intake of fluoride. On comparison in tooth paste the European Academy of Paediatric Dentistry (EAPD) & Oral health foundation, UK recommends a fluoride content of 1000 mg/kg for children (3 to 6 years) and for adults 1350 to 1500 kg/kg.
No aroma and flavour in CTC teas. The flavour of tea is divided into two categories, aroma which consist of volatile compounds and taste which consist of non-volatile compounds. Volatile compounds are important for quality and in black tea more than 600 volatile compounds have been reported so far. The volatile compounds are mostly influenced by the cultivar, cultivation practice, growing environment, the processing method and storage. All of the aroma are generated through many pathways such as Carotenoids derivatives pathway, fatty acid derivative pathway, terpene derivative pathway, phenylpropanoid /benzenoid derivative pathway, glycoside hydrolysis pathway and Maillard reaction pathway. Whether the black tea manufacturing process is CTC or Orthodox, the pathway never change and all the volatile compounds are detected in orthodox black teas and CTC black teas as well.
Cheaper teas are produced from the whole brush. Whether for CTC manufacture or orthodox manufacture only the tender three leaves and a bud growing on the top plucking surface are harvested at periodic / regular intervals. The UPASI Tea Research Foundation has prescribed a plucking interval for different methods of harvesting based on the Leaf Expansion Concept (LET). If the mature leaves on the lower part of the tea bushes are harvested, the plant will die on its own due to the fact that the mature leaves are the source for photosynthesis.
CTC is a primitive mechanized process and made from crumbled leaves is not justified. The raw material (green leaves) used is the same for the CTC and orthodox process. The standard of raw material can vary for both CTC and orthodox and quality is dependent on the elevation, soil condition, rainfall, clone and season. Some of the highest prices and sought after teas in the world are also CTC teas. The English breakfast tea consumed in many developed markets is largely CTC teas. CTC teas are consumed across Europe and America too.
Indian’s don’t drink what the world regards as tea? There is no one defined way of drinking tea. Globally, consumers have varying palate preferences and it is wrong to define one as the right way. The Chinese or Japanese market is mostly green teas, U.S market is flavored teas and many developed country markets also consume CTC tea. For many consumers in developing countries, the milk and sugar in their teas makes up an important part of their daily calorific and nutritional intake apart from being their preferred beverage.
There are emerging evidence of health benefits of tea consumption in the wake of Covid 19 pandemic. Black tea whether it’s processed through CTC or orthodox contains Theaflavins (TF) and Thearubigins (TR), Phenolic acids, Theanine and Caffeine. All over the world many researchers have proved that drinking tea on a regular basis supports health. Both Catechins and Theaflavins are the compounds that are reported to be the compounds responsible for the beneficial physiological effects of tea consumption. Recent research findings have revealed that black tea polyphenols especially those of TF1, TF2 and TF3 were found to inhibit the SARS Cov-2 replication. In black tea, TF3 was the most abundant (1.05%) followed by TF2A (0.34%), TF2B (0.11%) and TF1 (0.08%). These studies suggest that TF2B and TF3 might be good starting points for the design of more active inhibitors for SARS-CoV-2 and these compounds are abundant in the extract of black teas especially in CTC teas.
Comparing Indian owned international brands with a popular Sri Lankan brand is faulty. There are many Indian brands having strong presence in India that gained global recognition for quality and are fast growing. The list though not exhaustive include, Hindustan Unilever, Tata global beverages, Wagh Bakri, Society, Grinar, Teabox, Vadham teas, etc. Countries with a large domestic market tend to have more recognized domestic brands that export too. A comparison to China, which too has a large domestic market would have been appropriate, as opposed to Sri Lanka (Dilmah), which primarily is an exporting country. India being a large tea consuming country and consumption of growing 3% per cent per annum and with an estimated consumption of 1084 m.kg in 2018 have a lower marketable surplus available for exports. That be as it may, Indian tea exports witnessed a growth in the last two decades as exports increased from 182.06 m.kg in 2001 to 248.3 m.kg in 2019 [after reporting the highest in 2018 at 256.1 m.kg]. There is no denying that we need to better our marketing initiatives for promoting Indian teas globally which we will continue to be pursue.
UPASI Tea Research Institute is one of the premiere organization in our country involved in Tea Research from 1926 and for the past nine an half decades the research organization is rendering service to the tea industry in Good Agriculture Practices (GAP). All the statements made in the rejoinder are scientific facts and has good valid scientific evidences. The very purpose of the rejoinder is to inform the vast tea consumer base of the product they consume so often. Opinions on the matters discussed in the article ‘RUDE FOOD BY VIR SANGHVI: TEA TALES’ are respected, while what is stated above here has its foundations in decades of research.
Forwarded for favour of publication/ 22-6-2020
Upasi Tea Research Foundation