In your edition of 18 February 2006 you reported that "Tea is one of the most counterfeited products"

This claim and assertion naturally gave the United Kingdom Tea Council considerable concern, and on the basis of your story a full investigation into your claim was undertaken.

For the past five months we have been endeavouring to identify cases of counterfeited tea in the UK and to corroborate your story through the agencies you cited, namely the Anti Counterfeiting Group and Trading Standards offices.

The Anti Counterfeiting Group has confirmed that it has no evidence of counterfeit tea in the UK, and to verify the situation it has invited a number of Trading Standards offices to comment on your story.

To date, no Trading Standards office has presented evidence of counterfeit tea being sold in the UK.

We continue to search for the evidence you reported, but at the same time are doubtful of the veracity of your claim.

The UK tea industry operates at the highest possible levels of quality control and ethics, both here and in the producing countries.

We work strenuously in order to maintain those standards and the integrity of our products.