Indian pickle joins sudan scare

Related tags European union

Chilli pickles join the growing list of products on UK supermarket
shelves contaminated by the harmful, and illegal, red food dye,
Sudan I. Potentially carcinogenic, presence of this food colour,
and any level, is forbidden in the European Union.

Potentially carcinogenic, presence of this food colour, and any level, is forbidden in the European Union.

The UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) alerted authorities this week to the discovery of 'Pasand Green Chilli Pickle', tainted with sudan I and imported from India in 370g jar, and has since pulled the product from the market.

This is the latest recall in a seemingly endless list of contaminated foodstuffs that have been found in the UK food chain since the FSA started investigating the presence of this harmful dye, also known as 'scarlet red', in UK food products freely available on the market. P>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 - is rapidly turning into a river of food product recalls as the FSA continues to unearth more potentially contaminated batches.

"We have undergone a constant process since July last year - tracing products throughout the chain and building up a picture of where contaminated products could have ended up,"​ a spokesman for the UK's FSA informed last year.

In January this year a European 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.

Brussels now requires that imports of chilli and chilli products - including curry powder - 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) - classified as carcinogens by the International Agency for Research on Cancer.

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 are using 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 this month. 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.

In the UK alone, the food industry has recalled for destruction more than 280 products - ranging from pesto sauce to chicken tikka masala - since July 2003 and enforcement of the new measures. A costly procedure for food manufacturers, but one necessary to ensure food safety.

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