Carcinogen food dye hits the shelves, again

By staff writer

- Last updated on GMT

UK food watchdog issues warning as carcinogenic food dye detected,
once again, in foods on the UK supermarket shelves.

The Food Standards Agency​(FSA) issued a recall yesterday after authorities detected the red dye Sudan IV in various imported brands of palm oil.

Palm Oils labelled as Active Spiced Palm Oil, GhanaUK Trade Ventures Zomi Pure Palm Oil and Rika Ventures Palm Oil are all contaminated with the dyes used in waxes and shoe polishes.

"These products present a health risk if consumed in sufficient quantity, and do not comply with the food safety requirements specified in the Food Safety Act 1990, "​ says the FSA, calling on local authorities to co-ordinate their actions at a country level to ensure routine inspections pick up any further risks.

The discovery of the potentially carcinogenic sudan 1 to IV, a red dye banned under European rules, in Worcester sauce rocked the food industry in February as the UK carried out its biggest food recall in history.

Used as both a tabletop sauce and food ingredient, the cost of the sauce brand recall, made by UK manufacturer Premier Foods, is in excess of €200 million.

And as a result of the recall, consumer confidence in food additives has since taken a blow. One in four shoppers claim food is more risky today than twelve months ago, found a recent survey of 1000 people commissioned by Razor Public Relations.

The presence of additives in food products (25 per cent) is the food-related risk that worries them most.

Prior to the recall, Brussels had imposed tougher rules on spice entries due to fears, articulated in 2003, over the Sudan presence. The law 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.

Indeed, the European Commission recently warned the food industry of its responsibilities vis a vis​ Europe's extensive food law, encouraging firms to commit to massive testing, particularly of old stocks.

And as a warning to the food industry, the Commission stressed that the food law covers not only food safety, but also "fraudulent practices (Article 8)."

Related topics: Science

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