Susanne Kuehne, Decernis
Food Fraud Quick Bites

A Tea Party For Fakes

By Susanne Kuehne
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Susanne Kuehne, Decernis

Fraudulent tea is on the rise.

Fake tea
Find records of fraud such as those discussed in this column and more in the Food Fraud Database, owned and operated by Decernis, a Food Safety Tech advertiser. Image credit: Susanne Kuehne.

Tea is becoming a more and more popular target for fraudsters due to growing demand, complex supply chains, supply issues due to crop failure, sustainability problems, and underdeveloped analytical methods. Professor Chris Elliott (Director of the Institute for Global Food Security, Queen’s University Belfast) and his team are developing an analytical method based on chemical fingerprinting to determine fraud. Tea fraud can show as mislabeling of the geographical origins or type of a tea, or the addition of sometimes hazardous bulking agents like pigments or gypsum.


  1. Elliott, C. (August 10, 2021) “The challenges and necessity of tea authenticity”. New Food Magazine.

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Susanne Kuehne, Decernis

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