Home » My poisonous black tea [Öko-Testbericht 2023]

My poisonous black tea [Öko-Testbericht 2023]

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My poisonous black tea [Öko-Testbericht 2023]

Tea has been a healthy drink since time immemorial. It comes in different forms, like peppermint tea [1]Green tea [2]Camomile tea [3]black tea [4] and many others, each tea with its specific properties.

But thanks to the food industry and industrialized agriculture, teas no longer seem to be what they once were. There are more and more reports that various types of tea are contaminated with poisons, especially pesticides, which significantly limits the health value of the teas:

Herbal teas in the test – poisons and pyrrolizidine alkaloids – no thanks! Pesticides: Be careful when buying tea!

“Ökotest” published another test in its November issue, this time examining black tea varieties. And this is what came out of it:

“Bagfuls of spray poisons”

For the report, “Ökotest” bought 14 conventional and ten organic black teas and had them tested for a “broad spectrum” of pesticides by a special laboratory. In addition to these industrial chemicals, pyrrolizidine alkaloids were also tested. This is a secondary plant substance that is produced by plants to ward off predators. In the liver, these alkaloids are converted into liver-toxic and carcinogenic substances.

Other substances that get into the tea during processing include chlorate or PVC etc. in connection with the packaging of tea products.

And this is what the result looks like:

Of the 14 conventional black teas, five products received the grade “unsatisfactory”. These were products from the companies “Norma”, “Kaufland”, “Rossmann”, “Rossapfel” and “Aldi Nord”.

Two teas received the grade “sufficient” (“Edeka” and “Twinings”). The remainder received the “highest grade” of just “satisfactory”.

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One important reason for this is that glyphosate was detected in all 14 products. According to “Ökotest”, these are usually only traces, which “Ökotest” interprets as “below the official limit”. And if it is below the official limit, then the concentration can be considered unproblematic for humans, right?

After all, “Ökotest” points out that such considerations may be justified for one substance alone. However, since several different pesticides have been detected in several products, nothing is known about whether this combination of different pesticides, even if they are all below the official limit values, does not have a synergistic effect and is more toxic than expected. There are (of course) no studies on this because they are complex and expensive and would cause the profit margins of pesticide manufacturers to shrink significantly.

The tea varieties with the grade “unsatisfactory” shone with a flood of proven pesticides, with the exception of the product from “Aldi Nord”, which only contained traces of glyphosate, but contained chlorate in concentrations that were above the limit value.

The four other unsatisfactory products contained 4-7 pesticides, some of which are banned in Europe. Of course, the question immediately arises: how do banned pesticides get into the end products?

Answer: Because these types of tea were produced in countries where the use of pesticides banned in the EU is not prohibited. And the export of banned pesticides to non-EU countries is also not prohibited, so pesticide manufacturers can still make a great business with banned pesticides. A contribution to this practice is in progress.

Inexpensive teas from the “satisfactory” category include the products from “Aldi Süd”, “Edeka”, “Rewe”, “Netto” and “Penny”, which are among the inexpensive teas at EUR 1.13 per 100 grams.

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By the way: If you are interested in such information, then be sure to request my free practice newsletter “Independent. Naturally. Clear edge.” to:

What can be said about organic teas?

Of the ten organic black teas, no variety received a bad rating. The tea received the worst rating, “adequate,” from “DM” because it contained “trace amounts” of the pesticide dicofol, a substance that has been banned for years.

Two organic teas, from “Ulrich Walter” and “Tee Gschwendner”, received the grade “very good”, but with a price for the 100 grams that “was worth it”. The “very good” teas cost EUR 4.79 and EUR 13.90 respectively.

There is no pesticide contamination, not even glyphosate. The search for further contaminants only revealed traces, although “Ökotest” did not specify which substances were involved.

Four types of tea were rated “good”, of which the tea from “Tee Campaign” was the cheapest of the very good and good teas at EUR 3.10.

The cheapest of the organic teas was that of “DM” with a price of EUR 2.71, but, as already mentioned, it had traces of dicofol.

“Ökotest” and its additional conditions

Of course, pesticides and chemicals, no matter how “harmless” they are supposed to be and only occur in “trace amounts,” do not belong in the product that ultimately finds its way into our organism. Even minimal amounts can accumulate in our tissue. Or are there relevant studies on humans that show that these chemicals do not accumulate in the tissue and therefore do not potentially build up concentrations that are associated with health problems for those affected?

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I’m afraid that there are no such studies either. I already mentioned the reason for this.

Even without such studies, there are reasons to suggest that these chemicals are anything but safe. In its comments on the test results, “Ökotest” states that the chemicals we have banned in the tea countries where they are used lead to symptoms of poisoning among the workers in the tea plantations, which have already claimed a number of lives. According to “Ökotest”, 11,000 people worldwide die from pesticide poisoning every year. Added to this is the fact that these people not only do dangerous jobs, but are also paid so poorly that they are below the poverty line.

According to “Ökotest”, there are two organic providers who ensure that the producers have good growing conditions and working conditions. These are “Lebensbaum” and “Tee Gschwendner”.


The test from “Ökotest” basically confirms my article from July 2017 (see link above), where I already warned about pesticides in tea products. It looks like not much has changed in the meantime. Everyone talks about environmental protection, but others always have to pay attention to it.

By the way: If you are interested in such information, then be sure to request my free practice newsletter “Independent. Naturally. Clear edge.” to:


Post image: pixabay.com – Peggy_Marco

This post was created on December 2nd, 2023.

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