Sri Lanka defends Ceylon tea after Russian ban

  • Dec 20, 2017

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - Sri Lanka's plantation minister has denied that the country's agricultural products, including its famous Ceylon tea, are dangerous, days after Russia imposed a temporary ban on such goods.

Russian agriculture safety watchdog Rosselkhoznadzor banned all imports of agricultural products from Sri Lanka starting Dec. 18, saying it found an insect known as the Khapra beetle in the packaging of a consignment of Sri Lankan tea.

On Wednesday, Plantation Minister Navin Dissanayake said the insect is not common in Sri Lanka and there is less than a 5 per cent chance that it came from the island nation.

He said the insect could have entered the container when the ship stopped in other ports on its way to Russia.