Pesticides in My Favorite Tea!

Photo courtesy of rgbstock.com and Jana Koll
Photo courtesy of rgbstock.com and Jana Koll

Pesticides In My Favorite Tea

I was hugely disappointed to learn this week that one of my favorite herbal teas was found to be adulterated by pesticides… and not only adulterated, they were at the top of the list for pesticide residues. 

The maker of my favorite teas, Celestial Seasonings, is located right here in Colorado.  I have loved and consumed their teas for years, so I was shocked and saddened to learn of this report, “Dangerously High Pesticide Levels Found in Celestial Seasonings Teas“.

In particular, their Sleepytime Kids Goodnight Grape Herbal contained 0.26 ppm of propachlor, which has no safe harbor limit under California’s Proposition 65.  It is a known carcinogen!

The Company’s Defense and What Short Sellers Do

In their defense, Celestial Seasonings (via their Facebook page) had this to say:  “The report you’re referencing was issued by a short-seller, an investment firm which stands to benefit financially if our parent company’s stock declines.  We ran our own tests with an independent third-party lab and reaffirmed that Celestial Seasonings teas are safe and continue to meet industry standards. Please be assured that all of our teas continue to deliver on the safety, quality and taste that tea drinkers expect from us.”

The short sell firm Celestial Seasonings was discussing is Glaucus Research.  If you haven’t heard of short sell firms before (and I hadn’t) what I discovered is that they make financial bets against companies, so that if the stocks for these companies fall, they make money.   It wouldn’t be difficult to guess who Glaucus might be betting against.

So yes, it appears that Glaucus is a biased source.  However, it doesn’t make the pesticide reports any less untrue.  Glaucus released the findings to explain its investment against Celestial Seasonings and other companies like Teavana.  It also has analyses on other products from Hain (Celestial Seasonings’ parent company).  The group’s disclaimer clearly states “We are short sellers. We are biased. So are long investors. So is the company. So are the banks that raised money for the company… Just because we are biased does not mean that we are wrong.”

So who to believe?  The whole debacle makes me feel sick.  I’ve trusted this company for years, personally been through their factory in Boulder, Colorado several times (love that peppermint room!) and I even send their teas to my kids in Europe because they love them too.  The thought that I was possibly exposing them to pesticide residue makes me feel absolutely ill.

But their comment about industry standards does not reassure me.  For one thing, I don’t feel that ANY amount of pesticide residue is tolerable, especially having had breast cancer and knowing that pesticide residues are a risk factor.

Until Celestial Seasonings and Hain start creating strictly organic teas, I will stop buying them. 

Keeping Yourself Safe From Pesticides, Growth Hormones and Other Nasties

I still believe our best bet when shopping for food and body products is to look for the green and white USDA certified organic seal on everything you buy.  In Australia, look for the Australian Certified Organic seal.   Doing so provides us with our best defense against fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, sewage sludge (ewww), antibiotics, growth promoters, genetically modified organisms, irradiation, etc because organic growers do not use any of them. 

I found a great article on the Rodale.com website: “Here’s the Deal With the Organic Seal”.  This article explains much better than I can how organic certification came to be, what growers must do to be compliant, and several interesting tidbits, such as the USDA has increased its enforcement of both organic standards and rules for certifiers over the past few years under the Obama administration, which I found to be reassuring.

I especially appreciated the comment that “organic is still the gold standard for food production in the U.S.”  The author of the article went on to state “When you get away from organic, these companies are doing whatever they want without any oversight.”

Just another reason to buy organic wherever you possibly can.

If you would like my help with getting through breast cancer in an inspiring and ultra-healthy way, please sign up for my free e-newsletters and e-book on the right, or “like” me on Facebook (MarnieClark.com).  It is my honor and my goal to help you through this so that you emerge from breast cancer feeling better than before, thriving!

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