HC Deb 03 July 1871 vol 207 c1000

asked the President of the Board of Trade, Whether his attention has been called to the importation of Spurious Tea; and, whether he has ascertained if the Law as it at present stands prevents such importation or provides for the summary condemnation of such tea; and, if it does not, whether he is prepared to propose legislation upon the subject?


said, in reply, that he had lately received an important deputation on this subject from the sanitary authorities of the City of London, who explained to him the great abuses which occurred in the importation of those spurious teas. They exhibited to him various samples of a very remarkable character — one consisting of matter so decayed that it was offensive to the smell, and another sample containing such a quantity of iron filings that they were visible to the eye by the use of a magnet. He had since then inquired into the state of the law, and had reason to think that the Commissioners of Customs had no power to prevent these practices provided that the duty were duly paid. Whether it would be right to give the Commissioners of Customs such powers, which were beyond their usual functions, he was not prepared to say; but he was in communication with the Chancellor of the Exchequer upon the matter.