The famed Yewale tea, spread over Pune and other parts of Maharashtra with a string of outlets, has come under the FDA, Maharashtra, scanner as the tea masala being used to prepare tea in the outlets has been found adulterated with synthetic food colour tartrazine, an unsafe substance.In this regard, in September 2019, an inspection was conducted by the Food and Drug Administration at a Yewale Food Products outlet at Kondhwa in Pune and it issued a stop-work notice after finding violations of food safety rules.
During the inspection, FDA officials collected samples of tea powder, tea masala and sugar manufactured and packaged by Yewale under its brand name. These items are supplied by the brand to its 155 franchisees in large quantities. On the occasion, the inspectors also seized stocks worth Rs 5 lakh doubting that they were substandard.
The action was initiated as under the Food Safety and Standards Regulations, 2011, 2.10.1 (1), in regard to tea, it is said, “The product shall be free from extraneous matter, added colouring matter and harmful substance.”
The FDA sent the samples collected to Referral Food Laboratory in Mysuru for testing. Suresh Deshmukh, joint commissioner, Pune, explained to FnB News: “The reports were found, which approved the standard of preparatory food but I was suspicious about the findings. I decided to send them to the referral food laboratory in Mysuru, which is run by the Central Government.”He added, “There are no provisions for use of colour in tea in FSSR, as it would lead to food safety and health problems. The colour has been used to make the tea reddish which looks more attractive. There are few colours which are non-toxic and permitted by FSSAI to be used in products like sweets and fruit juices. FSSAI permits use of eight synthetic colours in specific food items, tea is not included in that list.”