STiR coffee and tea magazine

Volume 3, Number 2

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58 STiR tea & coffee industry international Tea Pest Control Advances in China "The use of pesticides is an inevitable and common plant protection measure in today's agriculture." Chen Zongmao, Tea Research Institute of China ndosulfan is a broad spectrum DDT-era pesticide once widely used by tea gardens to control insects and mites. The toxic chemical has the potential of bioaccumulation and long-range transport, thus categorized as a POP (persistent organic pollutant). Effective from mid-2012, endosulfan was banned for used by the UN Stockholm Conven- tion, a global treaty to protect human health and the environment from POPs. A phase-out period of up to five years allowed relevant parities to switch to alternative pest control measures. Acting upon the convention, many countries Tea gardens that previously used this chemical have soil residue issues that will take 2- to 3-years or even longer to reduce or eliminate. The U.S. is currently maintaining a 24 ppm standard for imported Chinese tea until a full ban on July 31, 2017. Industry sources revealed that current tests indicate Endosulfan residue in tea ex- ported to the U.S. is around 0.1 ppm. STiR Tea & Coffee Industry International inter- viewed China's top expert in tea plant protection and pesticide residue research for a closer look at the pesticide issue. Pesticide use is inevitable Professor Chen Zongmao is a senior research fel- low of China Tea Research Institute. He joined the national body in the 1960s and has since initi- ated and led research into tea pesticides. He also pioneered the introduction of chemical ecology in pest control in the 1990s, and was elected acade- mician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering in 2003, a prestigious lifetime academic honor given to the nation's top ranking scientists in the field of applied science. "The use of pesticides is an inevitable and common plant protection measure in today's agri- culture," Prof. Chen said, beginning his conversa- tion with the stark truth. Though organic tea farm- ing has been advocated and is on the rise in recent years, its actual share of world tea production is minimal, he said. Since pesticides are part and parcel of con- ventional tea farming, "it is rather important to set practical MRLs to safeguard pesticide usage," explains Chen. "Since the 1960s the standards have been more and more stringent, tea garden pesticide MRLs were reduced tenfold every 20 years. Now have banned or established phase-out deadlines. China officially banned Endosulfan use in tea gar- dens in 2011, the EU has set a zero tolerance stan- dard for imported tea. The U.S. has granted China a 5-year phase-out at the request of the Chamber of Commerce of the Zhejiang International Tea Industry, which sought additional time to meet the zero tolerance standards. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency began the phase out on American soil in July 2012. The last legal application date is July 31, 2016. Zhejiang province is the leading tea exporting province in China, contributing more than half of China's tea exports. Endosulfan was once a popu- lar alternative to older generations of pesticides with more severe health and environment impacts. By Helen Xu Fei E

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