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Organic Consumers Association

Campaigning for health, justice, sustainability, peace, and democracy

'Pure' Nonsense

If you bought tea advertised as “pure” and made from “100% natural ingredients,” would you be surprised to learn that it contained residues of weedkillers and insecticides?

We thought so. That’s why we sued Twinings Tea this week. 

Tests conducted on samples of Twinings Green Tea and Green Tea with Mint revealed residues of glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup weedkiller, and two synthetic insecticides: thiacloprid, a neonicotinoid (the class of pesticides responsible for wiping out bees); and bifenthrin, a pyrethroid. Both chemicals are known neurotoxins.

We don’t think tea should contain any of these contaminants. But that’s not why we sued Twinings. We sued the company for intentionally misleading consumers with its false claims about purity and “100% natural” ingredients.

There's a reason Twinings and other companies love to throw around the word "natural"—it helps them sell more product. A 2014 Consumer Reports poll found that 66 percent of consumers believe a product labeled “natural” has no artificial ingredients, pesticides or genetically modified organisms, and 86 percent believe that it should mean those things.

In 2016, Consumer Reports released a new survey showing that 73 percent of consumers seek out foods labeled “natural.” Many consumers equate the word “natural” with “organic” and some even believe that “100% Natural” is better than certified organic. 

Read our press release

More on the Myth of Natural

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