Sri Lanka Tea Board probes fake tea complaint

Mar 16, 2010 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s Tea Board is investigating complaints by an exporter that certain teas sold in Europe as pure Ceylon tea are actually blended with teas from other origins, officials said.

Zarook alleged that his competitors in Germany were competing on price because they were mixing Ceylon tea with Vietnamese tea which is cheaper. M C M Zarook, a tea exporter, said he had complained to the regulator about alleged unfair competition in the German market to which he exports.

He alleged that competitors in Germany were undercutting him on price by passing off cheaper teas from other origins as pure Ceylon tea packed in Sri Lanka.

The practice could also give Sri Lankan tea a bad name, he added.

Tea Board director general H D Hemaratne said the complaint was being investigated with the authorities having questioned local exporters and waiting to hear from the Sri Lankan embassy in Germany.

Zarook, who is also chairman of the Association of Small and Medium Tea Exporters, said there was a lot of scope for packeted teas from Sri Lanka.

But he complained that efforts to promote pure Ceylon tea to expand the island’s market share were being hampered by adulteration o