Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Pesticide Tea, Anyone?

As food safety concerns rise, more and more people are talking about how to clean your foods. If you are finding yourself concerned about any undesirable additives in your tea, I suggest the following:

Buy from a reputable company. Take a minute to look into the company itself. (This is easy enough to do online.) Does it seem ethical, or does it seem like it would sell you turpentine tea to turn a buck? If it seems ethical, is it a mega-corporation with employees paid to make it LOOK ethical, or is it actually kind of ethical?

Consider paying a little more to ensure your tea's quality. 'Nuff said.

To (ideally) eliminate pesticide and artificial fertilizer content, buy certified organic.

Consider buying Fair Trade. (Happy workers are more likely to treat the tea better. I've seen this in action.)

Take a cue from gong fu (high-skill) tea ceremonies: rinse your tealeaves.*

Keep in mind that at least some of the pesticides used in tea production are evaporated during the drying stage of production. It's not totally reassuring, but it's good to know.


Relax. Despite all the media's hullabaloo about food contamination, your tea will probably be just fine. Stress, on the other hand, is a real killer.

Hope this helps. Enjoy your tea!

*How to rinse your tealeaves: Place the leaves into the brewing vessel. Pour water (at the brewing temperature) over the leaves, and then pour the water out. Your leaves are now rinsed and ready for brewing. According to the gong-fu tradition, the leaves are also "awakened" and ready to make the best tea they can.

Related study: Organic food is on the rise, as is local food. 80% say they eat a healthy diet. (Ha! Right...) 59% identified China as a problem area for food safety. The odd thing to me is that people who purchased organic food tended to earn more than those who didn't. Organic food doesn't have to be expensive! In fact, when it's done properly, it should cost LESS than conventional food. (Read "The One Straw Revolution" for more on the costs of organic food production.)

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