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Towards a healthier cup

January 01, 2015: The Plant Protection Code (PPC) has been introduced in India by the Tea Board on January 1, 2015. The code lays out a set of guidelines to regulate the chemical inputs that are deployed in cultivating tea, in order to ensure that the end product is safe and healthy.

PPC is based on Codex Alimentarius, an international compendium of food standards and guidelines. It will guide planters on safe utilisation of crop protection products as well as adoption of measures to bring down pesticide residues.

Planters will be encouraged to undertake a critical audit of their plant protection formulations (PPF), which basically alludes to the list of chemicals that are used in tea. The code also includes small tea growers in its ambit, as they account for around 30 per cent of the output. PPC conformation will be mandatory for them before they sent their output to the factories.

With its coverage including insecticides, fungicides, herbicides and bio pesticides, PPF gives details of the chemicals that can be leveraged in tea gardens, with some exceptions for South India. It reiterates that chemical usage should also be brought down near water bodies, wildlife habitats and human dwelling.

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