Sri Lankan Tea Seized by Authorities

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka

Sri Lankan TeaCountless retailers and importers have paid a high price learning that what you taste overseas in a cup may not be what you get in the shipping container.

This week Sri Lankan authorities seized 20,000 kilos of spent and low-grade Sri Lankan tea in a warehouse ready to pack an additional 3,000 boxes and 2000 tins. The police Special Task Force discovered 120,000 kilos in March during several similar raids.

The tea is labeled Ceylon and carries the good name of Sri Lanka’s finest but is actually a mix of tasteless tea. Legitimate exporters are concerned their national brand is getting tarnished. India’s Tea Board, facing a similar problem, enacted a number of quality control measures last year to deter inferior export. Demand is high right now for tea in Iran, an important tea drinking nation subject to worldwide sanctions.

The Sri Lankan tea captured this week was bound for that country where a container of tea yields a profit of $1.5 million rupees ($12,000). Culprits apprehended for exporting inferior tea have the option of paying a few hundred dollars in fines.

Once nabbed they plead guilty, pay the fine and resume trading.

Sources: Daily News (Sri Lanka)