A scathing new report on Celestial Seasonings teas and parent company Hain Celestial, shows 91% of the samples of Celestial Seasonings teas tested contained pesticides in levels that exceed U.S Federal limits.
High pesticides in 91% of samples
10 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.
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 teas 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 Celestial Seasonings parent company 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."
How can Celestial Seasonings be so confident?
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.
A poor track record for Celestial Seasonings teas
In 2009 Kay Wright, a botanicals purchaser for the company for over 30 years, was interviewed by TLC Cooking and claimed, "we do pride ourselves all the time on being very natural. It's company standards—not industry standards. We test absolutely everything, and not very many companies do that extensive testing."
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 actually good sustainable tea? Twinings.
Incidentally, Celestial Seasonings got an 'E,' the lowest sustainability ranking.
The list of the Celestial Seasonings teas tested
The following were the teas that 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
DISCLOSURE: I have no investment position in HAIN.