Every once in a while a truly disturbing story about tea comes to my attention. This one features Celestial Seasonings I’m afraid. Apparently they have been sanctioned by the FDA a number of times for “quality control” issues. This one however involves serious health concerns. A reputable testing lab, Eurofin, evaluated multiple teas by Celestial Seasonings. Their conclusions revealed that many of their teas, including Sleepy Time Kids contained pesticides at levels that exceed FDA regulations. In fact, 91% of their teas tested exceeded the approved limits. For my money, no level of pesticides are acceptable. You can read the test results and make your own determination.
Be sure to continue reading beyond the disclaimer. Apparently the Hain Group – who owns Celestial Seasonings, tried to challenge the findings. They concluded that because this was funded by the Glaucas Group, an investment firm who would benefit by the stock’s decline, the results were tainted. Nice try, however the Eurofin laboratory is a well respected laboratory and there’s no reason to believe that they would compromise their standards.
I think the bigger issue is really about conventionally grown tea vs organic tea. It’s certainly not a problem for the periodic tea drinker to have a cup of tea once a week and ingest some pesticides. If you’re drinking multiple cups of tea a day however, those pesticides will build up and can truly become detrimental to your health. The same can be said about fruits and vegetables of course. I watch in horror when I’m at my local supermarket, while customers put conventionally grown strawberries into their carts. Because of their surface, strawberries are one of the “dirty dozen” of produce that have unacceptably high levels of pesticides on the skin. Since we don’t peel our strawberries, we’re left having to eat these toxic, though delicious, summer berries.
So for all you regular tea drinkers, please think about going organic. You’re on the track with tea, which in my book is the healthiest beverage on the planet. No need to compromise that healthy selection with pesticides.