Monday, May 5, 2008

Armageddon tea shortage fears

Great Scott, what kind of empire thrives without an iconic beverage like tea? Not the British empire, which was plagued by fears of a potential dramatic shortage of tea in the aftermath of a nuclear attack, recently declassified documents show.

A tea drought would be "very serious" if Britain were to come under nuclear attack, according to a memo drafted between 1954 and 1956.

"The tea position would be very serious with a loss of 75 percent of stocks and substantial delays in imports and with no system of rationing it would be wrong to consider that even one ounce (28 grams) per head per week could be ensured," it said. "No satisfactory solution has yet been found."

The memos were among a number of documents released by the National Archives.

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