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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

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This Week In FDA History - April 9, 1996

FDA Board of Tea Experts
Board of Tea Experts, ca. 1950
April 9, 1996:
The Federal Tea Tasters Repeal Act of 1996 eliminates the Board of Tea Experts by repealing the Tea Importation Act of 1897, one year shy of its 100th anniversary. The 1897 act aimed to protect consumers from imported tea judged at the time to be "little better than hay or catnip." Tea tasters, working in FDA offices around the country, examined every lot of imported tea, using standard teas selected by the Board for comparison.

FDA in 2006

The Board of Tea Experts program succeeded in raising the quality of imported tea substantially, and by the time Congress repealed the Act, the tea industry was able to ensure that teas imported to the United States were of good quality. Like all other foods
sold in the United States, tea is subject to requirements of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act for safety, purity, sanitation, good manufacturing practice (standards for food safety and quality control), and labeling.