Insiders give evidence to prove Vietnam tea is dioxin-free

21-Nov-2014 Intellasia | Tuoitre News | 6:00 AM Print This Post

Industry insiders have dismissed the allegation that tea grown in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong is tainted with dioxin, citing ample evidence against the groundless rumour that began in Taiwan.

Hundreds of tea producing and trading companies in Lam Dong, including 30 Taiwanese firms, have been hurt by the rumour for months.

Dioxin is a small compound contained within the “agent orange” herbicide that the American military used to defoliate jungles during the war in Vietnam, and it is one of the most toxic compounds known, according to scientists.

The Lam Dong administration on Wednesday filed a dispatch to the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in HCM City, affirming that the dioxin-tainted land is hundreds of kilometers away from where the tea is grown in the province.

“The distant polluted zone does not affect the agricultural production areas in Lam Dong,” the document reads.

The Lam Dong administration also asked the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office send its affirmation to Taiwanese media to refute the rumour.

Nguyen Van Yen, the province’s deputy chair, said his administration will call on the government to ask relevant agencies to look into the case and solve the crisis.

The Central Highlands province will also ask the press agency under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to organise a press meeting or launch media activities in Taiwan to silence the rumour.

Annual toxic test

Tran Thi Ha, head of administration with Vina Suzuki, a Japanese firm that grows Oolong tea in Lam Dong, said she was shocked by the unfounded allegation that there is dioxin-tainted land in the province.

Vina Suzuki spent five years carefully testing the province’s soil and water samples for toxic before deciding to start production there, Ha said.

The land qualified for tea production must be located at a higher altitude than the dioxin-tainted areas so that the toxic cannot be washed by rain water to the ‘clean area,’ she elaborated.

Ha added that samples taken from the land where her company grows tea are tested for toxins on an annual basis, and no chemicals have been found over the last decade.

“This is to say the allegation that Lam Dong land is contaminated with dioxin is baseless,” she concluded.

Han Wen Te, director of Taiwanese tea firm Fushen, said he sent documents to the company’s partners to clarify the information.

He added that his company had also carefully studied the land in Lam Dong before building a plant in 1995.

Han said the rumour is a method of unhealthy competition used by Taiwan’s domestic tea producers to tarnish the reputation of their counterparts in Vietnam, including Taiwanese ones like his.

Vietnamese-grown Oolong tea is imported to Taiwan at a price that is only one-fourth the domestic rate, he elaborated.

Hundreds of containers of Vietnamese-grown tea have not been able to clear customs in Taiwan, according to Taiwanese firms which grow Oolong tea in Lam Dong.

The businesses said the biggest problem is that the reputation of Vietnamese-grown Oolong tea has been hurt.

Han said his partners in Thailand, South Korea and other countries are hesitant following the rumour, and are waiting for an official explanation from Vietnam.

Many other Taiwanese teas in Vietnam have tried to explain to their partners that the rumour is false, but failed to convince them, they said.


Category: Business, Vietnam

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