Baku, Azerbaijan, Nov. 5
By Umid Niayesh - Trend:
Tea is the most popular drink in Iran, however it may not be what it seems. In other words, one should be careful buying tea in the country, and even more careful when drinking it.
The deal is that Iran's expired tea, which has been stored in the country for several years, is being re-exported to Iran, by local merchants. You must be wondering why.
Iran has been storing thousands of metric tons of domestic tea in warehouses since the 2000's, because it wasn't popular among Iranians, who didn't like its taste. The stored tea, after 7-8 years, was sold at very low prices at various tenders, and which should mostly used as compost and fertilizer, according to Zubin Amiri, an Iranian tea producer.
Amiri said, as quoted by ILNA news agency, that the outdated tea was sold for 7-18 cents per kilogram, while the fertilizer price at the market stood between 33-52 cents per kilogram. A big difference, indeed.
However, local merchants found a way to use this expired tea in a different way. They bought the tea, exported it to the UAE, and after mixing it with some flavour supplements, re-imported it back to Iran.
The "newly packaged" expired tea was then sold in Iran as "high quality foreign tea". The most interesting thing is the cost - packaging of the "foreign tea" in UAE costs only 56 cents per kilogram, and in Iran the same product is sold for $11-12 per kilogram.
The head of Iran's Parliament Agriculture Commission Abbas Rajaee has confirmed that the Iran's expired tea is being sold at the market as foreign tea after being processed in the UAE.
By the way, UAE ranks among top five tea exporters to Iran. Last Iranian year (ended on March 21), the country exported 7,948 metric tons of tea, worth $47.6 million.
It should be noted that some 30,000 metric tons of tea is produced in Iran per year, of which 7,500 metric tons is consumed in the domestic market. There is no information however, how much of Iran's tea at the market is expired, but packaged as "foreign tea".
Iranian experts claim that while the tea itself is the most popular drink in Iran, the expired tea is threatening to the health of the consumers. They say this kind of tea can bring a number of digestive diseases.
Head of Iran's Association of tea farmers had said that using expired tea is actually banned in Iran, and the factories are not permitted to process it. According to him - the expired tea can only be used for industrial purposes, for producing caffeine or codeine.
So the next time you're about to drink some tea in Iran, keep it mind - it may just be that "high quality foreign tea" that can damage your health.
Why you should be careful drinking tea in Iran
Baku, Azerbaijan, Nov. 5