6/10 of the teas tested contained a cocktail of pesticides, but each was below Canadian limits. These three, however, were way above these guidelines.
1. Twinings Earl Grey
This classic tea is considered a relatively high quality bagged tea. However, it placed third highest in pesticide content. Most alarmingly, this tea was repeatedly found to contain acetamiprid, a poison that causes severe nausea and vomiting, muscle weakness, hypothermia, convulsions, and hypoxia in small quantities (3).
2. Tetley Green Tea
Tetley green tea has been shown to contain both acetamiprid and chlorfenapyr, which is fatal in small quantities. Chlorfenapyr has delayed effects, causing death or damage to the central nervous system up to two weeks after ingestion. The CBC report showed that Tetley’s tea had 18 pesticides in its finished product, 3 over the allowable limit (4).
3. Uncle Lee’s Legends of China green tea
Uncle Lee’s Legends of China is the most toxic tea sold in Canadian grocery stores. It contained the same pesticides as Tetley as well as dangerous levels of Bifenthrin, a known carcinogen. It contained traces of 22Pesticides, 6 of which in illegal quantities (5).
It’s far from the only Chinese tee with illegal pesticides. Countless Chinese tea producers routinely use pesticides banned by China’s Ministry of Agriculture (6).
The Unexpected Winner
Of all the teas tested by CBC, Red Rose was the only brand that contained zero pesticides. The tea brand has made many efforts in recent years to be more ecofriendly and ethical. It has now received Rainforest Alliance Certification and Fair Trade Certified (6).
This proves that it is possible for a profitable business to give its customers pesticide-free products at a large scale.