Food Law News - UK - 2004

FSA Press Release (2004/0449), 15 January 2004

CONTAMINANTS - Agency issues updated chilli product warning

The Food Standards Agency is today updating an earlier warning issued as part of its investigation into food products on the UK market that may contain the chemical dye Sudan I.

Sudan I is not allowed to be used in food and it could cause cancer. The Agency warned in September last year, based on information from the supplier, TRS Wholesale Company Ltd, that certain batches of two of their products - Tandoori Masala Barbecue Ground Spice and Tandoori Barbecue Spice - might contain this illegal dye.

Information has since emerged which indicates that all batches of these products, with 'Best Before' dates up to and including July 2005, could be contaminated with Sudan I. Also, another TRS product, Tandoori Masala Natural Clear Powder, with the same 'Best Before' dates, is also likely to be affected.

These products come in 100g, 400g or 1kg clear plastic packets. The front of the packs bear the TRS logo and a picture of a woman grinding spices. The products have been on sale in the manufacturer's own TRS cash and carry outlets in Southall, Bethnal Green and Walthamstow in London. TRS has also distributed them widely throughout the UK to other retailers, cash and carry stores, caterers and manufacturers.

The Agency is asking local authorities' food law enforcers to contact shops supplied by TRS to make sure that these products are removed from sale. They will also be contacting caterers and manufacturers supplied by TRS to ensure that the products are not being used.

There is no immediate threat of illness from eating food containing Sudan I. People most at risk would be those eating contaminated products regularly and over a long period of time. Anyone who has purchased a contaminated product should either throw it away, or return it and request a refund from the shop where it was purchased.

Full product details are given on the FSA Website. Pictures of all the products can be found with the Food Hazard Warning. [See]

The Agency has been investigating which food products on the UK could have been affected by contaminated chilli powder since July. It is understood that three chilli suppliers in India had been adulterating their chilli powder with the red dye Sudan I, which is not permitted for use in food. To date a number of products have been withdrawn and recalled from sale in the UK as the chilli powder they contained had been linked to these sources.

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