India flags concerns about tea to EU

Recently, the European Union’s decision to classify dye-making chemical anthraquinone as a pesticide and set a maximum residue limit (MRL) of 0.02 mg per kg for tea. Calling it a non-tariff barrier that has hit tea exports to the trade bloc, India has asked the EU to share the scientific basis for setting the maximum residue level for imported tea, its sampling and testing methodology, and the international standards on which such assessment is based.

To make its argument stronger, India cited a study of the European Food Safety Authority that concluded the paucity of data did not allow the authority to recommend any enforcement measure for the potential illegal use of anthraquinone. It was also worried about a draft regulation of the European Commission withdrawing the approval of the active substance alpha cypermethrin, an insecticide, and additional separate action on its MRL. However, at a meeting at the World Trade Organization (WTO) last week, the EU said that it wants to ensure that pesticide residues are not present at levels presenting an unacceptable risk to humans and that MRLs should be set at the lowest achievable level consistent with good agricultural practice.

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