Mar 17, Colombo: Sri Lanka Tea Board has commenced investigations on function of the tea factories in the island to continuously maintain the image of Ceylon Tea in the world market.
Under this program 709 tea factories located in several districts will be investigated within two months, the Tea Commissioner E.A.J.K Edirisinghe has told Government Information Department.
Chairman of the Sri Lanka Tea Board Rohan Pethiyagoda has recently said that explanations have been called from 53 tea factory owners who were suspected of mixing sugar and glucose with tea during the threshing process.
Pethiyagoda further said that they had raided 80 tea factories in Ratnapura, Galle, Matara and 53 factories of them were found to be engaging in this illegal practice. If they are found guilty of mixing sugar or glucose with tea, action will be taken to cancel their license, he explained.
He said that there is a thought process among tea factory owners that by adding sugar with tea during the threshing process the tea turns black thereby allowing them to sell the tea at a higher price to the market.
Pethiyagoda said that while the thought process behind this is right, the tea that is produced as a result gathers mold and what is even more disturbing is that the mold produces the carcinogen aflatoxin.
The Chairman warned that such illegal practices could do great damage to the image of "Ceylon Tea" which has built a name for itself in the world market.
Pethiyagoda said 14 tea factories had been found guilty of engaging in this illegal practice last year and their licenses had been suspended for three months.