The adulteration of tea has taken place since the early 1800s. Adulterated tea contains chemicals or additives which, for various reasons, do not belong in the tea - as distinct from flavourings. Adulterants are generally added to tea to reduce manufacturing costs, sell it at a higher price, or deceive the consumer in some other way.
History[edit | edit source]
The adulteration of tea on a significant scale started in the early 19th century.
Substances[edit | edit source]
Many substances have been used to adulterate tea. Ordinary substances for adulterating tea include, but are not limited to:
- Prussian blue — a nonsoluble, blue pigment commonly used to color blueprints, crayons, paintings, and paint; it is non-toxic to humans
- Indigo — a blue dye derived from the Indigofera tinctoria plant; it is non-toxic to humans
- Graphite (Plumbago) — a naturally occurring mineral that is a form of carbon; commonly used as the "lead" in pencils
- Gypsum — a soft, naturally occurring mineral; used to alter color of tea
- Soapstone — a naturally occurring mineral composed of talc
In some cases tea that had already been used, and dried, was added to fresh tea.
Legislation[edit | edit source]
Laws have been passed to prevent the adulteration of tea. The Adulteration of Tea Act in 1776 was passed by the British Parliament. A similar law against the adulteration of coffee had been passed in 1718. A comparable law was later passed in the United States in 1883.
References[edit | edit source]
- Scientific American article 
- Chest of Books 
- UK Tea & Infusions Association 
- An article by Judith L Fisher 
[edit | edit source]
- FSSI.gov.in - DART: Detect Adulteration with rapid test