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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Tea Party Ends After 99 Years

WASHINGTON -- Calling it an anachronism that should have been done away with decades ago, Congress has voted to take the government out of the tea-tasting business.

The Senate, by a voice vote and with no debate, approved a House-passed measure Monday that disbands the seven-member Board of Tea Examiners, which was created 99 years ago.

In a ritual dating back to 1897, the board has met two days each year in a Brooklyn, New York, warehouse to sniff, touch and taste tea from the world over to see if it is of a good enough quality to be sold in the United States.

Lawmakers tried several times previously to abolish the board -- which costs the taxpayer $200,000 a year -- but failed to do so as part of a broader Food and Drug Administration spending bill last year.

Critics of the board have argued that Americans should assume the responsibility of determining whether they like a particular tea well enough to buy and drink it.