According to tests conducted by Eurofins, an independent analytic testing company, over 90 percent of Celestial Seasonings tea samples contained pesticides in levels that exceed U.S. federal limits.
Ten out of 11 varieties were found to contain excess pesticides, including Antioxidant Max Blood Orange and Sleepytime Kids Goodnight Grape.
Writing for the Examiner, Roger Ziegler claims the tests on Celestial Seasonings teas, one of the largest specialty tea manufacturers in North America, were part of a larger report by investment company Glaucus Research.
The full report can be read here.
Celestial Seasonings responded to customer inquiries on their Facebook page, and claimed the report was issued by a “short seller,” an investment firm which stands to gain financially if the parent company’s stock declines.
Short selling is when an investor bets money that a stock price will go down.
But Ziegler points out the tests and subsequent report was provided by an independent testing lab, Eurofins, and the short seller never touched the samples at any time.
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 risks being sued for fraud if it knowingly put out a false report, and said it encourages others to repeat their tests, adding: “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.”
Celestial Seasonings stressed that they sent the same teas mentioned in the report for testing to the National Food Lab (NFL), and NFL’s independent testing concluded Celestial Seasonings teas are safe and follow the strict guidelines established by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
But National Food Lab lists Celestial Seasonings as one of its clients on its website. Saying of its clients, “Somewhere along the line, we have had a hand in their success.” NFL declined to comment on its report, citing “confidentiality.”
Meanwhile, Eurofins lab, where the original testing took place, stands behind the results they reported. Furthermore, when Ziegler asked Celestial Seasonings if they employed a rigorous testing protocol, were confident in the safety of their products, and planned to make changes and improvements, the company had no comment.
List of Celestial Seasonings Tested Teas
The following teas were tested by Eurofins. Only the Rooibos Safari Spice turned up zero pesticides, 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