The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) on 24 July 2017 said it is banning the use of stapler pins in tea bags effective January 1, 2018. The move is expected to affect the fast growing packaged tea business in the country, as FSSAI has deemed the use of stapler pins in tea bag a serious health hazard. It said in an order: “The use of stapler pins in tea bags poses potential hazard to consumers since any loose staple pin consumed inadvertently with tea may cause a serious health hazard.”
Currently, tea bags are either stapled or knotted.
“The Food Authority, in exercise of the power conferred under Section (15) FSS Act, 2006, hereby directs the concerned food business operators to discontinue the manufacture, storage, distribution, sale and import of stapled tea bags by January 1, 2018.”It has also directed all food safety commissioners to take action to prevent the use of unsafe packaging materials by companies and take up measures for enforcement of its order.According to industry estimates, the tea bag segment contributes 3-4 per cent by value of total tea sales but it is one of the fastest growing segments at 50-60 per cent year-on-year.