Guwahati: The Tea Board of India has proposed that only 5 per cent flavour can be added to tea.

The Board said in a notice today that given the importance of the quality aspect as well as compliance with the FSSAI parameters, it is proposed that the manufacturers of flavoured tea shall be allowed to add natural flavours and natural flavouring substances up to 5.00 % only as a single flavour or as a blend of different flavours.

“Addition of flavour beyond 5% shall not be considered for issuance of flavoured tea registration certificate by the Tea Board,” the Board said.

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare through a notification in 1999 had said flavoured tea manufacturers shall register themselves with the Tea Board before marketing flavoured tea. Accordingly, the Tea Board issues flavoured tea registration certificates to the manufacturers of flavoured tea.

As per Chapter 2.10.1 of Food Safety and Standards ( Food Products Standards and Food Additives ) Regulations, 2011 tea may contain “natural flavours” and “natural flavouring substances ” which are flavour preparations and single substances respectively, acceptable for human consumption, obtained exclusively by physical processes from materials of plants origin either in their natural state or after processing for human consumption.

However, there is no mention of the maximum percentage of flavour which can be mixed with tea for manufacturing flavoured tea. Although the Tea Board advises manufacturers to keep the maximum amount of tea in the flavoured tea to retain the original quality, aroma, etc of this popularised beverage, there have been instances where a flavoured tea manufacturer uses the minimum amount of tea( less than 51 per cent) and maximum amount of flavour in the product which ultimately tends to reduce the original and special characteristics of tea as a whole.

The Tea Board is the facilitating body of tea and has the mandate to promote tea in any form including value-added products like flavoured tea, etc, which is a demand of the present consumers, but the same cannot be done at the cost of compromising with the inherent, unique characteristics of the globally acclaimed beverage “Tea”.

The Board in this regard had deliberated the matter with the Tea Research Association( TRA), United Planters’ Association of South India( UPASI) and other tea associations across all tea growing regions of the country. The matter was discussed in detail and accordingly, it was decided to obtain suggestions from TRA and UPASI based on the scientific data and analysis.

While UPASI had recommended the addition of natural flavouring substances up to 5% with tea, TRA has suggested mixing certain flavours up to 10 % and other flavours up to 7.5%.

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  1. It would be interesting to know specifically which flavors could be added to tea up to 5% while it could still be deemed natural tea rather than flavored tea. Does that mean that Earl Grey Tea with 3% Synthetic Bergamot Oil is still a “Natural Tea? And TRA wanted some flavors to be allowable up to 10% in “Natural Tea”. Sounds distinctly unnatural to me.

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