FSSAI finds stapled tea bags hazardous, seeks ban

Mumbai: The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) issued a notification to the food business operators (FBOs) seeking a ban on the use of pins in tea bags which are been sold in wide range. A senior official said they have asked all the FBOs to use staple-less tea bags and discard all the staple pins tea bags by June 30. “We issued a notification on January 30 to all the FBOs.

Last year, it had decided to ban the stapler pins in tea bags from January 2019 as it poses potential hazard to consumers since any loose staple pin consumed inadvertently with tea may cause a serious health hazard,” said an official. Earlier, FBOs had raised the issue of cost involved in changing over staple-less machines and presence of a few manufacturers of such machines globally. However, the FSSAI ruled out the possibility of ‘blanket extension.’

“Extension may be given on a case-to-case basis depending on firm commitment from the FBOs with proper proof to change over within a specified time,” added official. The food authority has also directed the tea bag manufacturing units to submit their plan to switch to new system by procuring the new machines or modifying the existing machines.

“The Food Authority, in exercise of the power conferred under Section (15) FSS Act, 2006, hereby directs the concerned food business operators to discontinue the manufacture, storage, distribution, sale and import of stapled tea bags by January 1, 2018,” the FSSAI had issued the statement last year.

There have been cases when consumers put the entire stapled tea bags in the cups and then heat it in a microwave; the pins are metallic and thus are very harmful if consumed. “If ingested, the metallic staple pins may lead to injuries in the gums or internal bleeding and other resultant health complications. Knotted tea bags form a viable alternative to stapled tea bags, but these are very rarely available in the markets around the world,” said a doctor.

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