Monday, February 21, 2005

Sudan I: Cancer dye could be in more foods

Britain's largest food recall was ordered after an illegal dye known to cause cancer was found to have contaminated millions of ready-made meals, snacks and cooking sauces. The British Food Standards Agency (FSA) warned that the foodstuffs, ranging from prawn salads to pot noodles, were contaminated by Sudan I - a red colouring normally used in products such as oils, waxes, shoe polish and petrol.


Major brand products feared to be contaminated

The FSA previously named more than 350 goods feared to be contaminated with Sudan 1. Products were recalled from major British supermarket chains such as Tesco, Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury's, Makro, Morrisons and Asda. Now it is reported the cancer dye could be in many more foods.

The London Times reports that Walkers Worcester sauce crisps yesterday became the latest product to be removed from supermarket shelves in the food scare. Production of the crisps has been put on hold by Walkers, which is owned by PepsiCo, the international food giant.

Supermarkets are expecting the food crisis to grow as more food manufacturers realise they have been affected by a tainted shipment of 5-ton batch of red chilli powder imported into the UK in 2002. Chillis often turn brown when they are stored and the suppliers had laced the powder with Sudan 1 to enrich the natural colour.

Even South African health authorities are closely monitoring the local implications of the recall of more than 350 products from British supermarkets over the weekend. Some of the goods withdrawn from stores can also be found on South African supermarket shelves, such as products from Crosse and Blackwell, Colmans (Unilever), Heinz, McDonalds' Low Fat Caesar's Salad Dressing and Schweppes/Coca-Cola's Tomato Juice Cocktail.

Further information at FSA website. A list of affected products can be found at Shoppers have been advised to check food in their homes against the official list.

Further reading:

20 Feb BBC news provides further news links.

20 Feb London Times says the carcinogenic risk to humans of Sudan 1 has not been established, but research has shown that it causes liver tumours in laboratory animals.

21 Feb New Zealand news says the NZ food authority believed few, if any, of those products listed were in New Zealand. Heinz had assured the authority that its products on sale in New Zealand were either made in NZ or in Australia.

1 comment:

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