"A political storm is brewing over a London council's use of tea bags."
Is that not the perfect beginning to a local newspaper article? It has the puns, it has the political angle, it has the inherent silliness...and it lets us make gratuitous references to oral sex techniques in our headline. Like we said: perfect.
Ok, so the story goes that in early 2003 Lewisham council passed a motion to agree to use Fairtrade supplies only.
However the Green Party councillors (who pushed through the motion in the first place) are now kicking up a fuss because the council are allegedly still using non-Fairtrade tea bags when they fancy a quick brew.
Lewisham council's excuse (which was actually communicated in a 'written statement') is that they've got a backlog of teabag stocks that need using up before they can move on to the ethically approved version.
Green councillor Darren Johnson, who is "leading the lobby kicking up a storm in a tea bag about the council's current practice" is quoted as saying:
It's a mystery to me. This old stock must be bigger than the European butter mountains.
It is a very green argument to save on stock but to still be using the old tea bags two-and-a-half years on doesn't seem right to me."
The Real Simple guide to expiration dates tells us that tea bags (they used the Lipton variety) "generally need to be used within two years of opening the package" and that after this time "color or flavor may be affected, but the product is still generally safe to consume."
So it looks like Lewisham's story holds (boiling) water, but we can only assume that therr councillors are having to share their offices with piles of teabags that some enterprising soul bought down the market one day because it "looked like a good deal at the time".
(Londonist did try and contact 'Gaffer' from the Tetley Tea Folk for a quote on this story, but we were told he was unavailable for comment.)