Mahinda S explains efforts to curb refuse tea mafia


by Maheesha Mudugamuwa

The ISO standard black tea particles extracted from refuse tea would be sold at the tea auction to control the refuse tea mafia in the country, Plantation Industries Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe said yesterday.

He told The Island that a bin number would be given at tea auction only to black tea particles extracted from refuse tea suitable for human consumption.

For any variety of tea to qualify for the tea auction it has to meet international standards ISO 3720 monitored by the Sri Lanka Tea Board.

The approval of the Tea Board is compulsory and tea could only be sold at the auction where the right price is paid for a kilogram.

"There are several licenced refuse tea dealers from factories. So they transport it from the dealers issued by the tea commissioner," he explained.

"There are approximately 10 percent black tea particles in the refuse tea. That is what is extracted from the refuse tea," he added.

"It is for black particles we are giving a bin number. Of course, it has to meet ISO standard and checks and balances are there to make sure that it is fit for human consumption," Samarasinghe said.

"The rest is denatured," he added.

"We will check the samples of black tea extracted from refuse tea and its established in line with ISO standards and then only the bin number will be given," Minister Samarasinghe added.

He said that the new laws would be introduced to tackle the refuse tea mafia in the country.

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