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India Agchem companies send legal notice to Greenpeaceqrcode

Sep. 4, 2014

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Sep. 4, 2014
Greenpeace India's claim that it has found pesticide residues in samples of leading Indian tea brands has been rebutted by the agrochemical industry, even as the tea industry contemplates its next move. Crop Care Federation of India (CCFI), the apex body representing the agrochemical industry in India, has moved in swiftly to take legal action against the nongovernment organisation, claiming that its report was 'fabricated' and 'pseudo-scientific'.
"We have sent a legal notice to Greenpeace for creating panic in the Indian consumer's mind by publishing a false report of pesticides in tea brands and discredit Indian agro products," said Rajju Shroff, chairman of the Crop Care Federation.
The legal notice has asked Greenpeace India to furnish all raw data collected and analyzed for this study and tender an unconditional apology within seven days, failing which a defamation case will be filed for Rs 50 crore. ET reviewed a copy of this notice.
The agrochemical industry representative claimed that the report contained unscientific and fabricated information. For instance, one of the pesticides found in tea samples, according to Greenpeace, was monocrotophos, which is not used in tea at all.
"Even if monocrotophos is used by mistake, it decomposes very fast leaving no toxic residues. During the process of picking up tender leaves, drying up in the sun and heating it in 100 degree Celsius, it is impossible that monocrotophos can survive," Shroff explained.
"India exports thousands of tonnes of tea every year. No customer has ever discovered pesticide residues in it previously. There are strict quality controls already in place. How can Greenpeace suddenly discover so many pesticide residues in Indian tea?" he asked.
Greenpeace, however, stuck to its claims. "We have received a legal notice from the Crop Care Federation of India, to which we have responded," acknowledged Neha Saigal, a campaigner with the NGO. "We are under no obligation to share raw data with agrochemical companies. However, we have shared the data with tea companies such as HUL and Wagh Bakri, who asked for it," she added.
"All the tea samples we collected were tested at a reputed independent laboratory in Europe, the name of which we are not disclosing due to a confidentiality agreement, since a number of global tea players regularly test their samples with them. However, according to the agreement, in case of any legal proceedings against us, the laboratory will voluntarily reveal its name," Saigal added.


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