Ingredient contamination cause of latest UK recalls

Related tags Food products Food safety

The UK's Food Standard Agency announced the withdrawal of three
food products last week due to the presence of Sudan I, undeclared
irradiation and contamination.

Most seriously, batches of Rajah Premium Hot Curry Powder and Rajah Premium Mild Curry Powder have been withdrawn from sale because of discovered traces of the illegal dye Sudan I.

Sudan I, an industrial dye normally used to color shoe polish, plastics, oil and other synthetic products, has sometimes been added to food products in order to increase and preserve red colour over time.

However, it was banned after it was discovered to be a potential carcinogen and is no longer permitted under the UK's Colours in the Food Regulations 1995. The ongoing discovery of Sudan Red in a number of food products however has shaken up the food market, with over 600 well-known processed foods pulled from UK shelves in February 2005 alone.

Brussels now requires that imports of chilli and chilli products - including curry powder - cross the EU border with proof - a certificate - they are free of the illegal chemical dyes.

The affected products, sold by BE International Foods in 100g tins and 425g tins, have a best before date of up to and including June 2008. The affected products also come in a 400g packet with a best before date of June 2007.

The FSA says that products with later best before dates are not affected.

The products were sold at supermarkets Somerfields, Budgens and Kwik Save. Local authorities have also been asked to ensure that the affected products are removed from sale at local stores supplied by cash and carry shops.

In addition, Nong Shim brand noodle based snacks have been withdrawn due to the undeclared presence of irradiated ingredients. The agency has now identified further companies that have imported the implicated Nong Shim Brand products, which were listed in the original food alert.

They are Korea Foods Company, J K Foods, Rose Kibong, Green Farm, S W Trading, Songs Supermarket and Jo Enterprise. The above companies have either imported the products directly from Korea or from other Member States and all have now withdrawn the implicated products from sale.

Irradiation, used to prolong the shelf life of food products and/or to reduce health hazards, is a physical treatment of food with high-energy, ionising radiation. Although an accepted manufacturing process in the USA and approved for use since 1963 to control mold and insect infestation in wheat and to inhibit the growth of sprouts on potatoes, the European consumer remains sceptical of the food safety aspect.

And finally, Holland and Barrett has been forced to withdraw specific batches of two sunflower seed products from its Nature's Harvest range as a precaution due to two complaints of a glass-like substance being found in the product.

Holland and Barrett has undertaken a product withdrawal of the affected items and point-of-sale notices are to be displayed in all stores.

These notices will advise customers of the reason for the withdrawal and the actions they can take if they have already purchased one of the affected products.

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