In Japan, it is very common that outside co-packers help in making the final products, but at Sugimoto Tea Company, we do everything ourselves to ensure our products meet our high standards of safety and flavor. We want our teas to be enjoyed by everyday tea drinkers, which is why we care about our product safety and quality.
Third party certifications are proof of the quality of our teas and safety of our facilities. Our headquarters is proud of their cleanliness of operations and welcomes outside inspections. To this end, we have obtained the following certifications:
This international standard for food safety requires clean processing facilities, meticulous record keeping, effective communication channels, and frequent audits. This certification also requires that all HACCP practices are in place.
Aside from restrictions on fertilizers and pesticides, organic certification requires crops to be non-GMO and also requires meticulous cleaning, record-keeping, and labeling.
There is currently no GMO tea that is commercially available and almost no chance of that happening in the foreseeable future, but we understand that many tea drinkers are still reassured by this certification which is why we have obtained it for many of our retail products.
Kosher certification is another way for us to show our commitment to product safety and quality, as well as ensure that people following Kosher religious dietary rules can feel assured by our teas.
Our farmlands can be found in an area recognized by the Food and Agricultural Organization (branch of the United Nations) as a Globally Important Agricultural Heritage System (GIAHS). This certification was received for traditional, sustainable farming practices, creating a symbiosis between the farmers and the environment.
Third party testing is an effective way to assess the safety and quality of agricultural products. Over the years, we have developed relationships with labs having the capabilities to conduct tests for nutritional content, heavy metal concentrations, agrochemical residues, and radioactivity. We are always willing to share data from previous testing or submit samples at the request of our customers.
On a more somber note, even now, a few years beyond the Fukushima tsunami and resulting disaster, the situation is still not totally resolved. We understand many people are still concerned about environmental effects and the safety of Japanese agricultural products.
Mandatory radiation testing is no longer in place by the Japanese government. However, the government of Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan annually samples tea grown in different regions of the prefecture. We also voluntarily submit our teas to a third party inspection organization for radiation contamination testing and have never found our teas to be contaminated with any radiation.
Every year we also require signed affidavits from our farmers promising that they conduct safe farming practices following all governmental regulations, keep meticulous production records, pay extra care to sanitation and hygiene, and produce a clean leaf free from any additives or adulterations.
We assure that we will continuously provide safe green tea in full compliance with national and international regulations. Detailed test data is available upon request.