Sudan 1 recall spreads to China

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Premier foods, European union

Vulnerabilities in the food chain through globalisation evident as
the sudan 1 food recall, that has racked the UK food industry in
recent weeks, spread to China with reports that international food
maker Heinz has called back chilli sauces and chilli oils that may
contain the harmful, and illegal, red dye.

Chinese broadsheet China Daily​ reports today that the food maker has told distributors and sales agencies across the country to recall products suspected of being contaminated by the harmful red food colour.

Sudan 1 to IV are classified as carcinogens by the International Agency for Research on Cancer and are banned under European Union rules.

But last month the discovery of sudan 1 in a Worcester sauce - used as both a tabletop sauce and food ingredient - brand made by UK manufacturer Premier Foods triggered the recall of nearly 500 well-know processed food products on the UK supermarket shelves.

According to the China Dailyreport​, Charles Chyi, regional president of Heinz, China told a press conference that Heinz knows where the contaminated products his firm "are now being sold in the mainland"​, but refused to reveal just how many products will be recalled.

In addition, he said the US food firm is considering "importing advanced technology and equipment, along with expanded co-operation with other labs at home and abroad to help test for the dye".

Sudan 1 came to the attention of the food industry in 2003 when France alerted member states to its presence in an Indian-sourced chilli powder. Today, the European Commission requires that imports of chilli and chilli products - including curry powder - cross the EU border with a certificate that proves they are free of the harmful chemical dyes.

Prior to the Worcester sauce linked recalls, in the UK alone the food industry had recalled more than 280 food products for destruction- ranging from pesto sauce to chicken tikka masala - since July 2003 and enforcement of the new measures.

Looking into how the contamination leaked into the food chain, Premier Foods has said that it had certificates from its suppliers that guaranteed the chilli used was free of sudan 1.

If this is the case, another possibility could explain the contamination: that the stocks used in these latest formulations pre-date the EU ban.

Premier Foods recently confirmed to FoodNavigator.com that the stocks were brought in before July 2003.

Related topics: Policy, Food labelling

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