Knowing your teas-Knowledge is power!
It’s no secret that some teas produced around the world are grown in less than ideal conditions. This is one reason we maintain long term relationships with our growers – so that there is a build up of trust and familiarity within our partnerships. In some cases we even finance growers to attain our necessary quality standards. These partnerships are nourished through annual visits to the various growing regions that make up our supply. That said, we still undergo independent testing for all arriving tea inputs. Prior to arrival, samples of our approved purchases are tested for MRLs (Maximum Residual Levels) of pesticides, herbicides and other chemicals. The results of these tests are reported via a certificate of analysis. This report provides us with measured data which can be compared to levels of tolerance permitted by various food safety departments (i.e. FDA, EU or Japan). We use the most strictest levels as our benchmark – this usually tends to be set by Europeans.
PESTICIDE USE Wherever possible, Metropolitan Teas are pesticide free. Certain high elevation tea districts, such as Darjeeling, the Kenyan highlands or high grown Ceylons can support tea without pesticides since pests that typically attack tea cannot survive at such high altitudes.
Interesting note: We encourage growers to use natural fertilizers (nitrogen, etc.) which promote and maintain crop yield. This in turn requires a significant labor force â€“ a very important function in rural agriculture where good jobs are scarce. While organic growing is good and commendable, we have seen yields drop by 40-50% with commensurate labor reductions. This is not a positive consequence in very rural situations where there are no other job opportunities. This is why “Pesticide Free” is THE EXCELLENT ALTERNATIVE, over organically grown. Anxi, China – no pesticide use is good for butterflies Ambootia, India – no pesticide use promotes rich biodiversity.
In cases where pesticides are used, Metropolitan Tea takes great care to ensure all growers meet (as a minimum) the European Union or Japanese Minimum Residue Levels, the most stringent in the industry.
PESTICIDE FREE George Williamson Kenya (GWK) is the world’s largest and best PESTICIDE FREE tea grower. What does Pesticide Free mean?: It means that absolutely no pesticides are used anywhere on the estate(s) but natural Nitrogen (N) fertilizer is used, (N – chemical symbol for Nitrogen). Pesticide Free and natural fertilizer is a policy on all GWK tea estates. The policy allows them to produce the world’s cleanest luxury quality tea and employ more than 10,000 workers in rural Kenya. It should be noted that GWK provides estate housing, schooling etc. and that the 10,000 jobs represent more than 40,000 people who call one of GWK’s estates home. In rural Kenya where job prospects with top quality employers are poor, GWK stands as a beacon; environmentally, socially and from a food safety aspect.
Proud members of ETP...Since 1978 we’ve seen much advancement
in the way tea is produced, marketed and distributed.
The Ethical Tea Partnership is one of the more positive developments
we’ve seen over the years. Metropolitan Tea was the first non-UK firm
to join when the ETP opened membership to North American companies in 2003.
WHAT IS THE ETP?
The ETP is an initiative started within the tea industry to monitor and regulate
the living and working conditions on tea estates. The organization is run and
regulated by member companies and bolstered by regular external audits by
Price Waterhouse Cooper.
(The global accounting firm responsible for tabulating and guarding votes for the Academy Awards.)