Tea Leaves Found to Contain Banned Chemical
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Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Tea Leaves Found to Contain Banned Chemical

By MIN LWIN Thursday, March 19, 2009


Ready-made popular brands of pickled tea in markets in Burma have been found to contain a dangerous chemical dye, the Ministry of Health announced on March 12.

The ministry said 43 brands were believed to be affected, including well-known names such as Ayee Taung, Shwe Tote, Pin Pyo Ywet Nu and Mya Thida which were found to contain a banned chemical dye called Auramine O.

Burmese pickled tea.

Auramine O is traditionally used to dye cotton, wool, silk, paper and leather. A government-backed newspaper reported that the chemical can cause diseases of the liver and kidneys, and possibly cancer.

Chemical dyes are strictly regulated in the use of foods in foreign countries.

Known as lahpet, pickled tea leaves are a favorite traditional beverage. Special occasions and ceremonies in Burma frequently include pickled tea leaves. The tea leaves are traditionally cultivated and traded by the Pa Laung ethnic people in northern Shan State, especially in Namhsan, Kyaukme, Kutkai and Tigyaning townships.

“Normally, the wholesale dealers used food dyes on pickled tea leaves,” said a tea dealer from Namhsan Township.

“Nowadays, the dealers are using chemical dyes,” he said.  

“The prices between the food dyes and the chemical dyes are different, so the wholesale dealers use the low-priced prohibited dyes,” he said.

According to pickled tea dealers, a yellow color chemical dye is frequently used for its brightness, which attracts consumers.

The well-known Ayee Taung tea company told The Irrawaddy on Thursday that it has stopped selling pickled tea leaves at their wholesale shops across the country.

“We stopped selling the pickled teas on March 12,” said a salesgirl at an Ayee Taung branch in Rangoon.

“The newspaper reported that 43 brands are not suitable for consumption, but it did not report all the brands,” said a housekeeper in downtown Rangoon.

“We were shocked when the paper claimed that ready-made pickled tea leaves are tainted with forbidden chemical dyes,” she said.

She said the authorities should concentrate more on food safety and conduct more laboratory tests on the food in the commodity markets.

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Thway Ni Wrote:
All along, most Burmese tend to believe that most of the food in Burma is not free from some form of chemicals. It is just a matter of to what extent.

I've never believed that the junta ever considers the well-being of the people in Burma. So, after seeing this news report, I seriously wonder why the junta is suddenly making this announcement.

Is this simply a consequence of the pickled tea dealers refusing to bow down to the junta's demands?

zar Wrote:
I got a bunch of laphet. Thank to your news, I am going to eat them.

Shwe Moe Wrote:
Oh well! First it was China... Can Myanmar be far behind? There goes the laphet tau, the national snack.

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