FSA asks: What can we learn from Sudan 1?

By staff reporter

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Sudan iv, Sudan i

The UK's Food Standards Agency is planning a review of the Sudan I
incident, which led to a massive recall of food products containing
the illegal dye in February and March 2005, and is seeking comments
from interested parties.

Banned in 2003 under European Union rules on the grounds of carcinogenicity, Sudan dye, also known as 'scarlet red', identified the harmful dye in a Worcester sauce product produced by UK company Premier Foods. Because the product is used as an ingredient in a number of branded and retailer own-label products, as well as being sold as bottles of Worcester sauce, the matter led to a massive recall of products from supermarket shelves - the largest ever in the UK. At the time, the FSA signalled that it would conduct a review of the incident once any legal action had been completed. Amongst those that have faced the music was East Anglian Food Ingredients (EAFI), which was taken to court in 2006 for the sale of its Hot Curry Powder, found to contain the illegal dye. The legal action was taken by Essex County Council Trading Standards after it became aware of the problem in July 2005. The agency said the incident was particularly difficult to deal with since Sudan I is an ingredient with a long supply chain that was used in many products - some with a long shelf life. Some products containing the ingredient were used themselves as ingredients in other foods - sometimes much later. The goal of the independent panel, which will convene in London on the May 24 and 30, will be to identify lessons that can be learned by different sectors of the food chain - from manufacturers, retailers and caterers, enforcement authorities and the FSA itself. It is seeking to advise on whether there are any deficiencies in current procedures and actions put in place as a result of Sudan I and, if so, to make recommendations. "The review panel may also explore how the food chain can best be protected given the underlying causes of the Sudan I incident and how the supply chain deals with intelligence, particularly when it relates to on-going incidents over a long period of time,"​ wrote the FSA's Richard Sinclair in a letter calling for written comments. The agency is accepting comments on the affair until May 10. Information on submitting comments is available online

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