Pesticide Testing

Why we send our teas for pesticide testing and what does it mean.

We have sent our best sellers for pesticide testing and the results are promising. All the tests have been conducted by SAL (Scientific Analysis Laboratories), they are based in Cambridge, United Kingdom.

They tested for 400-500 pesticide residues using two methods (liquid and gas chromatography) up to 1 part in a million. You can find the reports in the links below.

What Does It Mean?

If you are a long time tea drinker and know exactly what you are doing, you can skip the section below. However, if food safety is an issue for you, let me explain a bit more here.

With or without pesticide testing, I think it is important we take the common sense approach and do the simple thing right. For this, I will recommend taking a three-pronged approach.

First, drink in moderation: 3 to 6 cups a day. My tea is very potent and all my tea buds can be infused several times. If you are only consuming a few grams of tea buds a day, it should never cause any problem.

Secondly, if you are drinking my oolong and black tea, these teas are highly durable and can be infused 3-5 times. In that case, it never hurts to rinse the tea in hot water first. This is called "tea washing".

Also, it is a good idea not to eat the spent leaves. Most (but not all) of the pesticides are not water soluble, they won't dissolve in water and will stay in the leaves. However, nutritions like theanine and antioxidants are water soluble. So your best bet is to drink the tea liquor but leave out the leaves!

Third, be selective. Stick to my AAA (or King, Jipin) graded lightly oxidized teas as they are highly organic. These tea buds are harvested from the first few days of spring where the weather is cold and there are few insects around.

(Pesticide is more of an issue for "summer" climate but all my white, yellow and green teas are harvested in spring.)

The Tribute Longjing is the tea consumed by the Chinese White House and it gets tested yearly in China. HQ's family owns a tea garden and we do know the tea garden inside out. For us, it is the highest quality tea in the world - full stop.

This is discussed in full here:

Organic Tea - Frequently Asked Questions

The world is moving on and consumers are demanding more transparency. That's why I am sending my teas for pesticide testing but this is impractical for most teas due to the large sample of tea leaves required. So I am only testing my best-sellers.

Test Result (Click to Open in New Window)

Tribute Longjing (Tribute Dragon Well Tea)

The result is all clear and comply with the strict EU limit.

There is a negligible trace of fungicide (carbendazim) detected as weedkillers were used in the summer nine months before the next harvest begins. The amount found (0.01 part per million) is well below the EU maximum residual limit of 0.1 ppm.

Moli Jinzhen Wang (Jasmine Needle King)

The result is all clear and no chemical was detected. However, it is worth pointing out that as this is a scented tea, the laboratory was only able to detect up to 0.1 ppm.

Huangshan Maofeng A Grade

The pesticide acetamiprid was detected at a concentration of 0.13 ppm, marginally above the EU limit of 0.05 ppm. However, this is still well within the US limits of 50 ppm.

In term of safety, the pesticide is considered low toxicity:

"Acetamiprid is classified as unlikely to be a human carcinogen. Acetamiprid has a low acute and chronic toxicity in mammals with no evidence of carcinogenicity, neurotoxicity or mutagenicity."

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