In 1995, Indian exporters got a rude shock when a consignment of Darjeeling tea was rejected by Germany. The reason for this drastic measure: the tea leaves contained excessive pesticide residue levels. The unsavoury incident left a bitter aftertaste in India, but the fact remains that the tea did contain banned toxic substances. It is also true that since then, neither have any domestic standards been set for maximum pesticide residues in tea nor an effort made to curb unscrupulous exporters (some of them are known to give one sample for clearance and another for actual export). This unhealthy blend of inaction and non-implementation has left the country just as susceptible as it was seven years ago to non-tariff trade barriers and unfair practices of developed nations.
Germany had rejected the Darjeeling Gold brand of tea from market leader Teekanne because it contained 0.24 milligrammes (mg) of tetradifon