Traces of illegal red colour identified in UK

Related tags European union Sudan iv Sudan i Sudan

UK food agency continues work to minimise risk to the food chain
recalling within one week two different product ranges contaminated
with an illegal red dye.

The Food Standards Agency warned this week that the banned, and potentially carcinogenic, Sudan IV dye had been discovered in yet another palm oil product and Sudan I in a tandoori paste brand.

These latest recalls bring the number of sudan related recalls to over 300 in the UK alone.

Believed to cause cancer if consumed in large enough quantities, Sudan I is a forbidden colour under the Colours in Food Regulations 1995.

What started as a trickle in July last year - when the European Commission alerted member states that products contaminated with Sudan I from India had been found in France - has turned into a river of food product recalls as the FSA continues to unearth more contaminated food batches.

And in January this year a Commission clampdown extended the rules on the illegal red chemical dyes to include curry powder. A move that tightened measures and extended the paper trail for ingredients.

"We have undergone a constant process since July - tracing products throughout the chain and building up a picture of where contaminated products could have ended up,"​ a spokesman for the FSA recently told

Brussels now requires that imports of chilli and chilli products - including curry powder - can only cross the EU border with proof they are free of the illegal chemical dyes -Sudan I, Sudan II, Sudan III or Scarlet Red (Sudan IV).

That the rules now include curry powder, found extensively in European food products, means more paperwork and potentially a surge in product recalls for the food industry.

Random checks will also be carried out on chilli and curry products already on the market. Maximising the communication flow between EU members, the nation states will use the EU's Rapid Alert System to alert other states of any Sudan dye discovered in products already on sale in the EU or in consignments rejected at EU borders.

The emergency rules are due for review in January 2005.

Related topics Policy Food Safety & Quality

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