Coffee shops still serving up fake tea

SARIKEI: Many coffee shops here are still using tea dust laced with food colouring and passing it off as actual tea.

Divisional health officer Dr Teh Jo Hun said many tea lovers are unaware their local coffee shop could be cheating them with the reddish-coloured tea drinks.

He said the questionable tea dust used by most coffee shops is obtained in bulk from suppliers and the composition is very different from genuine tea available in small packets.

“The simplest way to see the difference between the genuine and coloured tea is by putting the two products in two different glasses of preferably hot water,” he said during a health campaign at the Central Market yesterday.

“We would notice the water in the cup with coloured tea dust turning reddish almost instantly, whereas the water in the cup with genuine tea takes some time to turn into a light yellowish (shade).”

He added that the colouring substance used in the questionable tea products might be approved under the Food Act 1983 and as such may not be hazardous to health.

“But we consider it as cheating which is also an offence under the same Act,” he explained.

“The base of the coloured tea dust may be recycled tea dust or even sawn timber dust! Who knows.”

Dr Teh added that personnel from the department would continue to carry out checks on coffee shops and would not hesitate to seize such products as provided for under the Act.

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