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Tea Business in Sri Lanka and Its History: What to Learn from It?

Tea, which comes from the Camellia sinensis plant, has been brought to Sri Lanka for over 200 years without any significant safety issues. So, it’s considered to be a low-risk food. For non-commercial purposes, the British imported a tea plant from China in 1824 and planted it at Peradeniya’s Royal Botanical Garden.

Tea is mainly grown, harvested, and processed in poorer countries. It’s then sold on the global market either through public auctions or private agreements, often involving producers, brokers, or traders. Sri Lankan tea packers usually can’t directly oversee how tea is made or control food safety during the process.

This long briefing of tea’s history in Sri Lanka shows the demand and better opportunities of tea business in this country. That’s why many small businesses and other independent farmers showing their keenness to the farming of tea.

How Does HACCP Play Its Part in the Tea Industry?

HACCP in Tea Industry in Sri Lanka works to make food safer by looking at where problems can happen. Tea Industries create plans and rules to make these problems less likely. They make sure everyone who handles food follows these rules.

The rule says that companies handling food must create and follow a set of steps based on HACCP Food Hazard. This applies to tea companies involved in making, processing, and distributing food after it’s grown. 

However, these steps don’t have to be used for growing tea at the very beginning, but any problems with food safety during tea growing and related activities must still be found and fixed to meet the goals of HACCP Standard.

Food businesses in Sri Lanka must make sure that every step of making, processing, and delivering food meets the hygiene rules laid out in the regulation. This applies to all food under their control.

HACCP in Tea Industry: An Appropriate Standard to Fight Against the Odds of Food Safety

Tea is made by soaking dried leaves in water. Usually, we use hot water, but for iced tea, you can use cold water. To make sure tea is safe to drink, an organization should follow the rules of Safety Hazards in Foods. Then, it can look at each step of making tea and find possible problems like:

1. Stuff that shouldn’t be in the tea

Foreign matter in tea can be things like pieces from other plants or stuff that got in during processing, like rocks, glass, metal, scales, insect parts, jewelry, or packaging materials.

Even though tea makers try to remove this foreign stuff during manufacturing, Sri Lankan tea companies might still find some in the tea they get. But the amount is really tiny, and it’s not a big food safety concern. 

This small risk becomes even smaller when you think about how Sri Lankan tea companies clean the tea and how people make their tea at home.

3. Harmful Chemicals

Chemical contamination in tea can happen because of various reasons like pollution, using agrochemicals incorrectly, sabotage, adding harmful substances, lubricants from tea machinery, residues from container fumigation, or contamination during transportation or storage. There are no natural parts of tea that we know of, which could be risky and need special safety measures.

3. Chances of Microorganisms 

Tea is generally safe when it comes to microbiological concerns. It naturally contains some tiny organisms, but they don’t pose much risk because tea has very little moisture. 

After a long research, scientists didn’t find any issues related to moisture in tea. This is probably because tea has low moisture and contains substances that fight off microbes. Keeping tea with moisture levels up to 10% is usually safe for storage.

However, guidelines of HACCP in the Tea Industry are still a necessary deal for businesses as well. Local tea makers should conduct an HACCP Internal Audit at a certain interval to find and fix problems that could make it unsafe to drink.

Safety Measures for Small Businesses to Follow as per HACCP in Tea Industry

HACCP in Tea Industry carry many significant approaches to produce safe and hygiene products. The goal is to follow the rules and avoid potential safety hazards in food. Here are the safety steps that are the best for all groups of businesses (including startups and small enterprises) in Sri Lanka:

  • Make sure that plant products are handled and stored in a clean and hygienic way when needed.
  • Clean and disinfect things like facilities, equipment, containers, vehicles, and boats properly.
  • Ensure that employees handling food are healthy and trained to handle health risks.
  • Make sure people who work with tea leaves and tea are clean, wash their hands after eating or smoking, and behave properly to avoid contamination.
  • Allow smoking only in specific areas away from places where food is processed or stored.
  • Use plant protection products and biocides according to the law.
  • Try to keep animals and pests from causing contamination as much as possible.
  • Handle waste and dangerous substances in a way that prevents contamination.
  • Pay attention to the results of tests done on samples from plants or other things that can affect human health.
  • Use clean or safe-to-drink water to prevent contamination.

Steps to Follow for Implementing HACCP in Tea Industry

Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) is a systematic approach to food safety that has been widely adopted in the tea industry to ensure the production of safe and high-quality tea products. Here’s an overview of how HACCP is applied in the tea industry:

  • Hazard Identification
  • Critical Control Points (CCPs)
  • Critical Limits
  • Monitoring
  • Corrective Actions
  • Verification
  • Documentation
  • Training
  • Review and Update
  • Regulatory Compliance

From Cultivation to Packaging: What Are Steps Involved?

HACCP in Tea Industry proposes effective HACCP Plans to provide better results. To keep tea business safe, we also need other plans for things like stopping pests, knowing where tea comes from, keeping all apparatus clean, and making sure suppliers and delivery people also follow all the rules. 

A tea manufacturer should implement the HACCP System to make sure that every rule is being followed by suppliers with appropriate safety plans.

Seven Principles of HACCP are also applicable for tea businesses. That’s why they provide the right kind of support to maintain hygiene from tea’s cultivation to its packaging. The steps are:

  • Tea plucking
  • Withering
  • Disruption or rolling
  • Oxidation or fermentation
  • Firing
  • Grading
  • Packaging

What’s the Cost of HACCP Certification for A Tea Manufacturer?

Talking about the pricing of having the HACCP Certificate in Sri Lanka, different factors may be listed by the certification body such as,

  • Geographical location
  • Size of your business
  • Members of your organization
  • Training and equipment
  • HACCP Certification Audit cost
  • Miscellaneous charges 

When it comes to Ascent ASSOCIATES, we are eager to help all tea manufacturers, industries, and suppliers who wish to have a HACCP Certificate by completing formalities including HACCP Documentation and audit processes without any second thought.

Conclusion!

In conclusion, HACCP Certification is an extensive approach to managing food safety that is very useful for the tea sector in preventing and controlling risks during the production process. Tea producers may guarantee the security and efficacy of their goods and satisfy the requirements of customers and regulatory agencies by defining key oversight points, establishing critical limits, evaluating, taking remedial measures, and preserving documentation.

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