Greenpeace says India tea just packed with pesticides.
Greenpeace India says it has found large quantities of many different kinds of harmful pesticides in Indian tea. Iran is the biggest foreign buyer of Indian tea.
According to the report, the group found many pesticides "considered highly and moderately hazardous by the World Health Organization" as well as other pesticides that have "not been approved for use in tea crops in India."
The report, entitled "Trouble Brewing," said 34 pesticides were found, with 94 percent of the samples tested containing residues of at least one pesticide.
Around 59 percent contained "cocktails" of more than 10 different pesticides, including one sample that contained residues of 20 different pesticides.
But the key point isn't whether residues are found, but how large the volume of residues is and whether they exceed permissible levels. Greenpeace said 59 percent of the samples contained residues of at least one pesticide active ingredient above the maximum residue levels set by the EU. Around 37 percent exceeded these levels by more than 50 percent.
Between June 2013 and May 2014, Greenpeace India tested a sample of 49 branded packaged teas from eight of the top 11 companies that dominate the branded tea market in India.
Tea from these companies is also exported to countries like Russia, the UK, the US and the UAE, as well as Iran.
Greenpeace in its press release stated that the companies whose samples were tested include Hindustan Unilever Ltd, Tata Global Beverages, Wagh Bakri, Goodricke, Twinings, Golden Tips, Kho-Cha and Girnar.
"All the companies named in our report have been contacted and we have been interacting with them over the last several months. The copies of the test results were also shared," Greenpeace said.