A recent advertisement by the Union Ministry of Agriculture warning consumers against iron filings in tea may have put the tea industry in the country in a bad light as tea trade here called for a campaign to caution consumers against adulteration of tea.

The recent advertisement by the Union Ministry has put the tea industry at the receiving end for no fault of its own, said chairman of Tea Traders' Association of Cochin K.M. Salim at a function organised here to mark the sale of 50 million kg. of tea through e-auctions. The Cochin Tea Auction Centre is the first in the country to achieve this level of e-trading.

Chairperson of the Tea Board of India Roshni Sen, chief guest at the occasion, called upon traders to act to prevent adulteration of tea.

Mr. Salim, on behalf of the tea traders here, appealed to the Tea Board to launch an innovative campaign to educate tea consumers about the health hazards of adulterated tea. It would be appropriate, he said, if the Tea Board came out with a campaign against colouring of tea. A joint effort between the Tea Board and Health Departments in various States would be a welcome step, he added.

The Tea Board chairperson congratulated the Cochin Auction Centre, its members, buyers, sellers and the brokers for the achievement. Top achievers were presented with mementos.

Ms. Sen extended full support to improve trading facilities here and welcomed the move to establish a settlement banking facility with Indus Ind Bank.

The 50-million-kg. sale was achieved through 48 numbers of sales since January 2010. Mr. Salim said the transition from manual to the electronic mode, although with some initial hiccups, has been gradual and complete. He recalled that e-auction had to be abandoned initially due to numerous glitches in its operation.

Executive Director of Tea Board R. Amblavanan; Advisor to Tea Board of India H.N. Dwibedi; and Ramesan Ganesan, Vice-President of Indus Ind Bank; were among those present.