The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has directed the Food Business Operators (FBO) to discontinue, manufacture, storage, distribution, sale and import of stapled tea bags by 30 June, 2019.
“The use of stapler pins in tea bags poses potential hazard to consumers since any loose staple pin consumed inadvertently with tea may cause a serious health hazard,” as stated by FSSAI.
Subsequently, several representations have been received by FSSAI from FBOs raising the concern of cost involved in changing over staple-less machines and presence of a few manufacturers of such machines globally.
The matter has been examined by the FSSAI and the following decisions have been taken;
- Blanket extension of further time period for implementation of the order (dated 15.11.2017) shall not be given to the FBOs. However, extension of time may be given on case to case basis based on firm commitment from the FBOs with the proper proof to change over within a specified time
- All FBOs in tea bag manufacturing are directed to submit their plan to change over to new system by procuring the new machines or modifying the existing machines
As per the industry estimates, the tea bag segment contributes 3-4 percent by value of total tea sales but it is one of the fastest growing segments at 50-60 percent every year.