Warning: Amazon organic teas are fasely advertised :(
I recently purchased a matcha tea on Amazon, it was advertised as being 100% Organic but when I opened it and tasted it, I felt like something wasn’t right. My partner and I strictly only consume organic foods. My boyfriend’s dad works in a lab in Boston and we got him to test it for chemicals and it came back with a significant amount of maltodextrin. I then tried to find an area on Amazon where I could report the seller but they don’t care. I then went to the FDA website but the process was too arduous. The non existent quality control of Amazon is alarming! Has anyone else had this problem?
It is very common for teas to be marketed as organic when they are not. Did you buy from a seller in China? The Chinese first of all have totally different standards for organic and second, Chinese sellers are often willing to write anything about their product in order to sell it. Amazon to my knowledge does not check to see if a product’s claim are true. If you want organic matcha I suggest buying from a reputable source, someone like Yunomi, a Japanese company that sells a variety of matcha, some of it organic and some of it not. Just out of curiosity, how much did you pay for the matcha? Was it very cheap from China? Many companies on Amazon and other markets will also make a variety of false claims about the health benefits of their teas. To my knowledge, neither Amazon or EBay stop sellers from making these claims as well. I have often seen claims that types of tea cure all sorts of disease when they of course cure no disease but are in fact healthy overall.
wow so this is common knowledge? I spent $35 for a 4oz bag, they claimed the tea is from Japan but I just found out that most Chinese suppliers will buy 5% of their matcha from Japan and blend it with Chinese matcha so they can call it Japanese Matcha. Well I am shocked. Thank you for your response. Should we start a list of falsely advertised teas?
Usually the falsely branded teas are just a little too cheap. Real Japanese organic Matcha can be quite expensive and $35 for four ounces would be the deal of a lifetime. With real Japanese organic Matcha you will probably pay at least that but for around 30g of Matcha. Yunomi has very good Matcha and can be trusted that if they claim a matcha is organic that the claim is true. I have ordered a variety of teas from Yunomi including Matcha although I don’t remember if I bought organic.
There is one good seller of Matcha on EBay as well. It is a store from Japan. He is called Tablinshop.
Others on this site can recommend other good sources from Japan but these are the only two Japanese companies I have personal experience with.
Aside from what’s already been said (by AllanK) it’s worth noting that the standards for “organic food” or “organic farming” vary quite a bit around the world. In other words, a tea marketed as “organic” might be so according to a local standard but that might not correspond to whatever expectations you have from the label.
Also note that a food item can be “organic” (in the sense that it has been grown in an ecologically sound fashion without pesticides and herbicides) without being certified organic by whatever standard is applicable. So a tea may be perfectly safe and “organic” without being sold as organic, kind of the opposite of the situation you describe.
If you want to start a list with falsely advertised teas then I hope you have a lot of free time on your hands because that’s probably most of them ;-) Including quite a few sold by western shops (cough, cough, 1600 year old trees, cough).
I believe the Japanese standards for organic are far higher than the Chinese. I suspect Japanese standards are even higher than American standards for organic but I am not completely sure of this. The biggest myth about organic is that they cannot use pesticides. They simply have a completely different list they must use to be organic at least in America.
Yes, it’s a mess trying to compare organic products worldwide. Adding to the confusion is the wildly different food safety standards for “non-organic” food, including tea, ranging from pretty much unrestricted up to the EU MRL. So one needs to do quite a bit of homework to know what labels, safety standards and organic certifications means when shopping internationally. Obviously this is a dream situation for unethical sellers who can claim a tea to be “organic” just because it is according to some local standard somewhere. That is when they don’t just make it up.
There are only one or two sources for tea from China where I would trust that a tea they were selling as Organic actually was. The first is Yunnan Sourcing, and if they sold any I would probably trust White2Tea to be telling the truth although I don’t know if they sell any organic teas. Also, Yunnan Sourcing tests all of their own label of teas for most of your pesticides and won’t sell the tea if it tests positive. If you were worrying about pesticides in Puerh tea anyway. I did notice that Yunnan Sourcing now sells matcha, I don’t know if it is any good. It is not Japanese.
I would add Farmerleaf to that list. I wrote William and asked about pesticide usage and got a very informative and honest reply. I think he also have the info about their use (or not) of pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers in their natural gardens available online. I trust the guy, FWIW.
Essence of Tea tests as well. I trust Scott and Paul and William. You can probably add Glen at Crimson Lotus as he is a straight shooter too.
Thanks guys I will check these sites out tomorrow. Also, I read that some matcha teas are now being tested for radiation, in some ares of Japan there are many tea areas that have been affected by radiation and others that have not been touched. Is anyone aware of the safer, cleaner areas to by matcha from?
I forget the name of the area effected by the radiation, but I would probably trust the people from Yunomi to be truthful if you asked them about any teas grown near this area. And this was a number of years ago now it may be less of a factor.
There are also a couple threads on steepster already concerning radiation in Japanese tea… If I can find them. The short answer is there isn’t much to worry about. Most of the tea is grown on the opposite side of the island if I recall.
World of Tea had an article on it:
Also when it first happened I remember steepster being flooded with topics, but here are the few I could actually find:
World Tea News also has more articles than I thought on it (but I only linked the one specifically dealing with consumer-worry concerning radiation; the others are about buyer trends post-fallout, and tea grower compensation):
Edit: Another one, concerning Japan’s radiation detection procedures for all exports: https://integrityexports.com/japan-car-auction-academy/transporting-and-processing-your-cars/radiation-testing/
Agreeing with everything already said, but I thought it worth adding: Organic maltodextrin is a thing (it’s just a derivative of starch). So it’s entirely possible that your matcha was still organic (I mean, I doubt it but). I know it’s sometimes used as a ‘sugar-free’ sweetener, so it wouldn’t be out of place in a cheap matcha, which is usually sweetened for western drinkers, especially in ‘cooking matcha’.
A quick google search also brings up a few articles on it commonly being used to prevent matcha from clumping.
Thanks AJ, in this case we did find that malodextrin was derived from wheat which had traces of glyphosate. Apparently in China they derive maladextrin from wheat which is sprayed with glyphosate, while in the US it is derived from GMO corn. I would love to believe that they are using organic derivatives but big companies like Monsanto have too much power and influence now. However, very slowly countries are beginning to ban the use of glyphosate, so far its just Malta, Sri Lanka, The Netherlands, and Argentina. Its a start!
In the US Maltodextrin is usually made from corn so as to keep the product from needing a wheat warning and so that people on a gluten free diet can eat it.
Labeling laws in the US are a little funny. If the Maltodextrin comes from wheat they do not have to label it Wheat Maltodextrin, they can just label it Maltodextrin. However, at the bottom of the label they must say, Warning:Contains Wheat.
It might be easier if you complain about an unlabeled allergen to the FDA and Amazon. That they might care more about because of the higher probability of a lawsuit.
That would get their attention! Is it worth doing if the majority of sellers on Amazon are corrupt? I have a friend who services the blackhat customers on Amazon and its shocking how deceitful sellers are.
I have seen Puerh tea advertised as a cure for almost everything on a variety of platforms including EBay and probably Amazon. While ripe puerh is beneficial for ones digestion it doesn’t cure anything. But this doesn’t stop some sellers from claiming it cures high blood pressure or diabetes or even cancer. Websites like Amazon do not usually take a close look at the claims of sellers. They just want the money.
Ripe puerh has even been touted as a diet tea for losing weight. There is some evidence that it contains compounds beneficial for losing weight there is no evidence that it by itself will help you lose weight. If it did all lovers of ripe puerh would be thin. Yet it is often claimed as a diet tea. Green tea also gets this claim too. It too will not help you lose weight by itself.
I agree, I see people are buying Matcha tea now specifically for weight loss and then they complain about it not working. The tea companies do not disclose that Mathca tea does not prevent one from gluttony and eating emotionally, it does not repair metabolic syndrome, does not re-balance hormones or the lymphatic system which are all very important factors in losing weight. I feel like a lot of people do not have time to do their research, some people hate to read, others would rather be outside than on a computer and I feel like its these people who are being targeted with false advertising. And obviously, this isn’t fair. It shouldn’t be up to the buyer to do their due diligence, we have legislation and consumer watchdogs that are supposed to protect us. I feel very hopeless.