Mumbai: After having seized and tested tea samples from Yewale Food Products, a Pune franchise, a fortnight ago, the Food and Drug Administration has now seized samples from its Mumbai outlets.
This comes after laboratory tests confirmed that the samples of Yewale tea masala contain tartrazine, an unsafe ingredient used to dye tea powder.
FDA officials said they had seized tea samples worth Rs 2,000 for testing, which it sent to its laboratories. “Last year, tests of the samples seized did not reveal anything.
Now, some samples of sugar, tea and the tea ‘masala’ have been seized and sent for analysis at the FDA laboratory. A report will be out in 15 days,” he said.
Yewale food products include sugar, tea, and special tea masalas packed at their centralised manufacturing unit at Katraj in Pune and these are sent to their franchises, famously known as ‘Yewale Amruttulya’ (comparable to nectar), in various cities.
Senior FDA officials said the tea powder, masala (packed and loose) and sugar samples collected from its Kondhwa facility were sent to a food laboratory in Mysuru in November last year. It had also seized stock worth Rs 5 lakh on suspicion of shortcomings in the product, the report said.
Last September, the FDA had issued to ‘stop work’ notice to the tea chain, Amruttulya, over alleged violations of the Food Safety and Standards Act.
According to the FSSAI guidelines, no colour can be used in tea, as this could raise issues of food safety and health. The colour is added to enhance the colour of the tea.
“There are some colours which are non-toxic and permitted by the FSSAI to be used in products like sweets and fruit juices. The FSSAI permits the use of eight synthetic colours in specific food items, but tea is not one of these,” said an official.