High Levels of Pesticides Found in Celestial Seasonings Tea
A scathing report on Celestial Seasonings tea found that 91% of samples contained pesticide levels that exceed U.S. federal limits, Examiner.com reports.
Sleeptime Kids Goodnight Grape was one of the 10 out of 11 varieties found to contain excess pesticides. The other flavors were Antioxidant Max Blood Orange, Green Tea Peach Blossom, Green Tea Raspberry Gardens, Authentic Green Tea, Antioxidant Max Dragon Fruit, Green Tea Honey Lemon Ginger, Antioxidant Max Blackberry Pomegranate, Antioxidant Max Blood Orange, Sleepytime Herb Teas and English Breakfast Black K-Cup. The only one that contained zero pesticides was Rooibos Safari Spice (which doesn't technically contain tea, either).
Celestial Seasonings teas, one of the largest specialty tea manufacturers in North America, is owned by Hain Celestial. It was founded in 1969 with the philosophy that "all-natural herbal teas could help people live healthier lives."
But testing by Eurofins, an independent analytic testing company, found that many Celestial Seasonings varieties contained potentially dangerous levels of multiple pesticides. The tests were part of a larger report by investment company Glaucus Research, which is highly critical of Hain Celestial, going so far as to say Hain is "masquerading as a healthy/organic food company" and that "85% of the Company's 2012 internal growth are beset by quality control issues and/or deceptive marketing practices." Furthermore, Glaucus says the Eurofins study found that all of the samples that tested positive for pesticides "contained traces of known or possible human carcinogens." Their recommendation for investors is to sell Hain stock because they think the company is headed for a fall.
Glaucus' report also says that the Food and Drug Administration has issued two previous warning letters to Celestial Seasonings for quality-control issues.
The report goes on to trash a range of other Hain products, such as Greek Gods yogurt and Jason and Avalon Organics for making false claims (for not being real Greek-style yogurt and not being truly organic, respectively).
Celestial Seasonings, on the "values" page of its website, says: "We are confident that all Celestial Seasonings Teas deliver on the high quality, safety and taste that consumers have expected from the brand for over 40 years. Celestial Seasonings employs a rigorous testing protocol to ensure all products adhere to strict industry standards. Celestial follows regulations set by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)."
Glaucus makes money by predicting which stocks are going to go down. However, the firm said it encourages others to repeat its tests: "The only way for consumers to make good food choices is if food producers are held accountable for the marketing and labeling of their products."
So which brand makes tea you can trust? According to RankaBrand.org, go with Pickwick. It gives it an A rating, their highest ranking for sustainability. Lipton ranks a B. It rates Celestial Seasonings a D.
Maybe just have a latte.
Get the Food & Drink Newsletter
Our weekly guide to Los Angeles dining includes food news and reviews, as well as dining events and interviews with chefs and restaurant owners.