FSA News Item, 12 August 2003
Category B: For action - Request for further local authority action
On 31 July 2003 the Agency issued a Food Hazard Warning regarding contaminated chilli powder that contained an illegal dye called Sudan I. The chilli powder was imported into this country from India and used in products produced under the Rajah brand.
Sudan I is not a permitted colour under the Colours in Food Regulations 1995. It is considered to be a genotoxic carcinogen and its presence, at any level, is not permitted in foodstuffs for any purpose.
Reports have been received which indicate that affected products remain available at retail level. Local authorities are asked to take action to support the trade withdrawal.
Of these products, only those containing any Best Before End dates up until 18.07.2005 are affected. These products are retailed in 100g packets or tins, in 400g and 1kg packets and 8kg tubs. The 100g packets or tins and the 400g packets are retail packs. The larger sizes (1kg packets & 8kg tubs) are sold through wholesalers. Any product with a Best Before End date of 18.07.2005 or later is confirmed to be made with chilli powder that does not contain Sudan I.
Action to be taken by local authorities
The products detailed above present a health risk if consumed in sufficient quantity, and they do not comply with the food safety requirements specified in the Food Safety Act 1990 due to contamination with Sudan I. In addition, Sudan I is not a permitted colour under the Colours in Food Regulations 1995
Local authorities should visit or make contact with food premises likely to stock Rajah brand products and ensure that affected products are removed from sale and destroyed, if necessary using powers under the Food Safety Act 1990.
Enforcement action under the Colours in Food Regulations would normally rest with trading standards authorities however environmental health departments are asked to assist to ensure that products are withdrawn from sale.
It is essential that all local authorities liaise at county level to ensure
that they co-ordinate their actions.
The Food Standards Agency is continuing its investigations into the distribution
of the affected chilli powder. Other companies and brands may have inadvertently
received contaminated product. Further information and advice will be issued