The Sri Lankan tea industry is the third-largest agricultural crop country in the world providing about 19% of global tea all over the world. According to the status, Sri Lanka produces around 320 million kg of tea. Sri Lanka is the lead manufacturer of orthodox black tea.
The country’s major concern is to provide quality and safe tea to the user, simultaneously achieve the desired results of the organization. In order to prove that Sri Lanka is producing safe tea free of any type of hazards, they have adopted HACCP Certification. Hence, the HACCP process adoption helps to verify the safety of violations in the manufacturing industry with its sources and circumstances. Tea is a product with different colors, tastes, smells as well as different shapes in visual appearance based on its type or variety of leaves used. To provide the customer with safe tea, the whole process is verified through the Seven Principles of the HACCP Plan.
Tea Plucking–The first step of the production of tea is plucking tea leaves to manufacture a quality product. The plucked tea leaves are subjected to the B – 60 or “Randhalu” method by plucking 75% – 80% of tender shoots green leaves more than with two young leaves and bud. Aflatoxins grow in plant leaves, nuts, and dried fruit and infect stored cereal grains. They are heat resistant. HACCP helps to avoid the use of such leaves in the manufacturing process which have a high impact on animals and humans.
Withering –The first stage of black tea manufacturing is withering. According to the Control Limits of the HACCP Plan, withering requires 16 to 18 hours of the free flow of air as well as electric fans depending on the weather condition and the moisture content of the tea leaves.
Disruption/Rolling–Most Sri Lankan manufacturers carry out tea with the rollers. The leaves are rolled by applying mechanical pressure to break up the cells with an orthodox roller for about approximately around 20 minutes to separate the finer leaves. Exceeding the time of rolling will over the Control Limits (CL) which will no longer be used to produce the final product. HACCP verifies the actual need and does not allow the process time limit to exceed.
Oxidation/Fermentation –The oxidation process in tea manufacturing leaves are enzymatically broken down into other compounds.
Firing – The next step of orthodox tea processing is drying, to terminate biological reactions. It is carried by heat denaturation to reduce the moisture content, increase the shelf life and flavor of orthodox black tea. Tea contains a natural level of micro-organisms that are considered safe for health, HACCP ensures that the firing is per prescribed limit to retain the good microbes. By adopting HACCP Certification, the Control limits are specified to which level the moisture content from the leaves to be avoided.
Also Check –> HACCP Certification in Sri Lanka
Grading – It is done as per the demand of the tea leaves of different sizes in the market as well as buyer requirements according to their popular blended brands. In this stage of the production, there is a high level of contamination (Physical contamination by adding foreign matters like stone, sand, etc.). To avoid this the HACCP Plan will demonstrate the CCPs at each level to avoid any malfunctions.
Packing –Tea is packed in paper sacks. HACCP helps to provide good quality packaging to avoid any type of contact with the surrounding. Packing needs special attention to resistance against moisture absorption keeping quality while preserving its desirable characters.
Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) principles are applied to the whole process of the tea to adequately control the hazards in the process and achieve the objective of food safety. However, most tea is contaminated with sand particles and iron particles. To ensure that your production process is safe and free from contamination, organizations adopt HACCP Certification. HACCP Certification helps to reduce, eliminate, the hazard, contamination, or microbiological contamination of the tea. The tea leaves are plucked and heaped on the bare floor or in the field and transported to the factory with a high risk of contamination. HACCP even targets this risk and ensures a clean safe process.
Sri Lankan Tea Board requires the manufacturer must be HACCP Certified before entering the trade facility of tea.
HACCP CERTIFICATION PROCESS
To make the HACCP Certification process simple and quick. Hiring a consultant will guide you and your business through the following steps to achieve HACCP Certification by providing
1. Gap Analysis
4. Documentation & Test Report
5. Process Audit
6. External Audit
7. Certification and beyond