Through a notice dated 29th June 2020,the FSSAI has asked the concerned authorities to carry out surveillance on the manufacture and import of stapled tea bags.
The FSSAI had taken cognizance of the risk to public safety, posed from any loose staple pins being consumed inadvertently with their tea, as this could cause serious health hazards. In this regard the FSSAI had issued directions on 18 July, 2017 for discontinuation of the manufacture, storage, distribution, sale and import of stapled tea bags which was to be effective from 1 January, 2018. However, based on the representations received from industries and food business operators, seeking extension of date for compliance of these directions, the implementation of this direction was further extended to 30 June 2019 vide an order dated 15 November, 2017.
Through an order dated 25 January 2019, the FSSAI had communicated that any further extension on the use of stapled tea bags beyond 30 June 2019 would be considered on a case by case basis subject to the following conditions
- Extension of time may be given based on the firm commitment from the FBOs with proper proof to change over within a specified time.
- FBOs in the tea bag manufacturing business were to submit their plans to the FSSAI for the change over to the new system by procuring new machines or modifying the existing machines.
Accordingly based on the roadmap received for the complete switchover to staple less tea bags the FSSAI allowed time line to 16 FBOs to manufacture tea bags with staple pins up to 31 December 2021 and such tea bags are permitted to be sold in the domestic market up to 31 December 2023 only.
The FSSAI has observed that a number of FBOs manufacturing staple tea bags have either not sought extension of timeline for compliance or have not responded to further queries raised by FSSAI with regard to their proposal for migration from stapled tea bags to staple-less tea bags.
In view of the above the FSSAI has now requested the Commissioners of Food Safety of all States and UTs and Central Licensing Authorities to carry out surveillance on the manufacture and import of stapled tea bags in their respective areas of jurisdiction.The action taken report in this regard has to be also be communicated to the FSSAI.