The Crop Care Federation of India has moved to take legal action against Greenpeace India for a report the nonprofit released claiming that it found pesticide residues in samples of leading tea brands, according to The Economic Times.
CCFI represents the agrochemical industry in India and claims the report was “fabricated” and “pseudo-scientific.”
According to Rajju Shroff of the CCFI, Greenpeace has created panic in the minds of Indian consumers by publishing a false report of pesticides in tea brands and discrediting Indian agro products.
The legal notice has asked Greenpeace India to furnish all raw data collected and analyzed for its study and submit an unconditional apology within seven days. If Greenpeace India does not comply, a defamation case will be filed against the organization for Rs 50 crore ($11.3 million).
According to the Greenpeace report, a pesticide called monocrotophos was found in tea samples. However, according to CCFI, monocrotophos is not used in tea at all.
According to Shroff, even if monocrotophos was used by mistake, it decomposes very fast and leaves no toxic residues, adding that during the process of picking leaves, drying in the sun and heating it to 100 degree Celsius, it is impossible that monocrotophos could survive.
Greenpeace India has acknowledged receiving the legal notice from CCFI and says it has responded to it. According to Neha Saigal of Greenpeace India, the organization is under no obligation to share raw data with agrochemical companies, though the data has been shared with tea companies who have asked for it.
According to Saigal, all the tea samples collected were tested at a reputed independent laboratory in Europe, the name of which is not being disclosed because of a confidentiality agreement. However, according to the agreement, if there are legal proceedings against Greenpeace India, the laboratory will voluntarily reveal its name.