Our Teas Are Now Certified Gluten-Free!

This spring, we are proud to announce that our teas have been certified gluten-free by the Gluten Intolerance Group. Our customers that may have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity can also be assured that our packaging materials do not contain gluten. In addition, our certified organic tea packing facility in Seattle does not process anything with gluten, so there is no risk of cross-contamination.

gluten-free-organic-tea

You may be wondering, “Why do I need to worry about gluten in tea?”  While Camellia sinensis, the plant from which tea comes, does not contain any gluten on own its own, gluten is sometimes introduced to tea products by manufacturers as an additive. For example, flavors made with grains containing gluten can be added. (Our flavors do not contain gluten.) Also, sometimes barley malt is used as a sweetener and roasted barley itself can be made into tea. (We do not use barley in any of our teas.) And finally, some tea companies may use gluten-containing glue to close their tea bags. (Our tea bags are sewn shut, so this is not an issue.)

For these reasons and the many phone calls and emails we’ve received from concerned customers, we are pleased that we can offer the added confidence of third party verification that our teas are gluten free. To learn more about our certifier, the Gluten Intolerance Group, visit gluten.net.

Another Update on Our Japanese Teas

Now that we have started packaging tea harvested after the earthquake and tsunami events of March 11, 2011 in Japan, we wanted to share updated information about our continued efforts to oversee the safety of our Japanese teas.

We are working with an accredited lab to conduct testing for the post-earthquake teas. Test results showed levels “less than or not exceeding 1 becquerel,” indicating virtually no contamination. This result is dramatically lower than the stated standards of the United States, Europe and Japan and restores confidence in the safety of these teas. Also, tea is steeped and not ingested, thus, reducing exposure.

All of our Japanese teas (Premium Japanese Green, Bancha Hojicha, Twig Kukicha, & Genmaicha) are sourced from Nara and Kyoto Prefectures only.  These prefectures have no reported fallout and reside over 300 miles from the Fukushima area.

Additionally, in March 2012, our buyer, Eric Ring, visited tea estates in Japan to witness and ensure that proper safety protocols are enforced.

We hope you find this information helps you make your tea buying decisions. We will continue to monitor the situation and will provide you with any additional reports that may come forward.

As always, we are deeply committed to maintaining quality, safe, and pure products for all of our customers.

Update on our Japanese Teas

Choice Organic Teas extends our deepest sympathies to everyone affected by the earthquake and tsunami in Japan on March 11, 2011.  We have long standing ties with our suppliers in Japan and were heartened to learn that our colleagues and their tea fields were safe from harm.

Over the last few months, we have received many inquiries about the safety and supply of our Japanese teas.  While the concerns are not as prevalent as they were in March, we’d like to take this opportunity to update our customers on the status and availability of these teas.

Regarding the safety of our Japanese teas, our entire product currently on grocery shelves and in our warehouse was harvested prior to the earthquake, including chests of teas that have not been packaged yet.  We expect this supply to last through the end of this year.

As always, we will not accept or sell any product unless we are 100% confident about its safety and quality.  A third party organic certifier is overseeing the safety of the product at the source and the United States is conducting radiation checks on imports from Japan.

We intend to continue working with our Japanese tea suppliers to help them and their country toward recovery. However, we do work with a number of suppliers around the world and if we are unable to secure a safe product from Japan for future supplies, we will be sourcing teas similar in quality and style from other regions.

We are fully aware of the situation and are monitoring it regularly, until the issues from this tragedy are resolved.  We continue to support our Japanese partners of many years and trust you will join us in wishing the people of Japan a full recovery as soon as possible.

To promote these wonderful teas, September 6th through 20th, we are offering 10% off all Japanese teas on our website. To use, just enter promo code JAPAN2011 during check out.