Pesticide tea anyone?

A scathing new report on Celestial Seasonings tea and parent company Hain Celestial shows 91 percent of the samples of Celestial Seasonings teas tested contained pesticides in levels that exceed U.S. federal limits.

Ten out of 11 varieties of Celestial Seasonings teas, one of the largest specialty tea manufacturers in North America, were found to contain excess pesticides, including Antioxidant Max Blood Orange and Sleepytime Kids Goodnight Grape.

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Celestial Seasonings Tea: From Great Beginnings

Started in 1969, Celestial Seasonings was “founded on the belief that all-natural herbal teas could help people live healthier lives.”

However, the tests conducted by Eurofins, an independent analytic testing company, determined that many varieties of Celestial Seasonings tea contained potentially dangerous levels of multiple pesticides.

The tests were part of a larger report by investment company Glaucus Research, which is highly critical of Hain Celestial. Read the full Glaucus report here. (Copies of the pesticide test results begin on page 29).

Hain Celestial Responds, Sort Of

Celestial Seasonings, through a spokesperson, responded with a mostly cut-and-paste from the “values” page of their website about how they employ a “rigorous testing protocol” and that they are “confident that all Celestial Seasonings teas deliver on the high quality, safety, and taste that consumers have expected from the brand for over 40 years.”

I wanted to believe Celestial Seasonings teas and Hain Celestial. I really did. So I asked them again if they had read the Glaucus report. Indeed they had, they said.

So I asked, if you employ a “rigorous testing protocol” and are “confident” in the safety of your products, “What went wrong? And are you planning to make changes and improvements to your process?’

The company had no further comment.

Can Short Sellers Be Trusted?

Glaucus Research is an investment firm that specializes in short selling. Short selling is betting money that a stock price will go down.

Glaucus is “short” Hain Celestial and would benefit from bad news about the company, but their report is extremely well researched.

In the report, released February 21, 2013, Glaucus says, “It is important to note that at no time did we take custody of, touch or handle any of the tea samples. Rather, we had the products shipped directly to Eurofins from the company’s website and other online retailers.”

Glaucus said it encourages others to repeat their tests. Glaucus further said, “The only way for consumers to make good food choices is if food producers are held accountable for the marketing and labeling of their products.”

So Who Can You Trust For Good Sustainable Tea? Twinings.

A report by rankabrand.org gives an A to Twinings teas, their highest rating for sustainability.

Incidentally, Celestial Seasonings got an E, the lowest sustainability ranking.

 Celestial Seasonings Teas Tested

The following were the teas that were tested by Eurofins. Only the Rooibos Safari Spice turned up zero pesticides, and the rest exceeded federal safety and/or California safety limits:

  • Green Tea Peach Blossom
  • Green Tea Raspberry Gardens
  • Authentic Green Tea
  • Antioxidant Max Dragon Fruit
  • Green Tea Honey Lemon Ginger
  • Antioxidant Max Blackberry Pomegranate
  • Antioxidant Max Blood Orange
  • Sleepytime Kids Goodnight Grape
  • Sleepytime Herb Teas
  • English Breakfast Black K-Cup
  • Rooibos Safari Spice

This article was written by Roger Ziegler and published in Examiner on March 22, 2013.

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  • Rae0587

    Good to know!

  • bobbe232

    I am so grateful to have read this article! I am truly shocked to hear about this. I have been drinking about 2-3 cups of CS Green Tea Decaf with white tea for a couple of years now! Yikes…time to change brands! Twinings…who knew??!

    • enchodus .

      Me too, I drank at the avarage two cups a day, not anymore though, I dont even bring this brand in my house, I could not trust them again. They were far better when it was a family run business. Its just another company seeking big profit on the account of value-Celestial out!

  • bobbe232

    Not sure my last entry went through. This was a troubling article…I have been drinking a lot of CS tea over the past couple of years…now I am going to have to seek out new brands of green teas.

  • dancerfrog

    Not sure about what happened to my first post…the biggest problem with this report is that it is not independent. The company that paid for the test has a financial stake in seeing it come out negative. Everything may have been done in a legitimate fashion, but it still smells bad. I would like to see a report by someone who has no interest in the outcome.

  • unrooly

    Twinings has a C and not an A?

  • Good Green Witch

    WHen I Tweeted this, Celestial Seasonings actually direct messaged me with this response: http://www.celestialseasonings.com/safety-assurance

    Just FYI. I still prefer, personally, to stick to higher quality teas when I can.

  • ben tilador

    i am drinking celestial herb tea since 2010 and it taste like pesticide and i like pesticide so much, i feel it cleans my stomach from dangerous pest. i like Ortho insect killer spray too! this article is crazy!

  • RabbitWarrior

    I remember back in the 1980as when Celestial Seasonings Tea USED TO taste good. . Recently made the mistake of buying Morning Thunder, and can’t believe how bad it is. Then I checked an see that Hain food group owned By Heinz, bought out the original owners in 2000. Typical for corporate America…Tossing out the tea as we speak and won’t buy anymore.

    • enchodus .

      Celestial Seasonngs company is a shadow of what it was when it a family run business that seeked perfection. Almost all the flavors changed, far from what they used to taste like.

  • enchodus .

    Celestial Seasonings today is a mere shadow of what it used to be when it was a family run company that manufactured great clean and truly natural teas. The owners worked really hard to bring to our table the best herbs from all around unlike now where care is given to making money on the account of value. The brand was a favorite for quite a while but now I could never really trust it again, Twinings and Bigelow are by far much better.