The Food Standards Agency has warned retailers that they will face prosecution if they fail to ensure their products are free of the Sudan 1 food dye…
In Scotland, the maximum sentence available in the Sheriff Court is three years jail time coupled with an unlimited fine.
A spokesperson for the Food Standards Agency, Scotland, (FSA) said they have set out clear guidelines for all food coming into the United Kingdom.
All dried and crushed or ground chilli coming into any EU Member State must be accompanied by a certificate showing they have been tested and found to be free of Sudan 1.
“Any consignment that does not have a certificate is detained for sampling and analysis. Random sampling is also undertaken both at ports and by local authorities. All consignments found to contain Sudan 1 must be destroyed,” said the FSA spokesperson.
“All food companies have a legal obligation to ensure that food is safe and fit for human consumption. Companies failing to ensure that foods placed on the market are safe and fit can face prosecution under the General Food Regulations 2004. Local authorities, not the Agency, are responsible for taking forward any prosecution,” the FSA spokesperson concluded.
They could not estimate a date for when the ban on certain foods will be lifted, instead only stating that investigations are ongoing.
Sudan 1 is a food dye used for the colouring of food powders and added to sauces, and is also known as CI Solvent 14. It is banned from food in some countries because of fears it can cause cancer.
Any further products identified as carrying it will be added to the list located at the Food Standard Agency website.
The FSA and a number of local authorities randomly sample more than 1,000 consignments a year of imported chilli products.
This batch involved with the current problems predates this sampling programme and was uncovered after sampling of Worcester sauce produced by Premier Foods.
Premier stated in a press release that they had received written assurance that the chilli powder did not contain Sudan 1, based on the supplier’s internal testing procedures.
Major supermarket and convenience stores such as Asda, Safeway, Sainsbury’s, Iceland and Tesco, have made sure that customers are informed of the risk products and have placed warning labels, and have left shelf gaps in some outlets.
A spokesperson for Asda Wal-Mart stated that they did not buy any products direct from Premier Foods.
“We have put up warning signs in store and if any customer did buy any contaminated product, then they should just simply bring it back to the store and claim a full refund.”
Morrison’s have implemented a similar procedure to counter the threats and quell fears about Sudan 1.
A press officer for Morrison’s group confirmed all its products affected by Sudan 1 had been taken off the shelves.
“We have put up posters in every area of the store, which details products affected, and there are also posters in the foyer area as well as customer services if customers have any queries," he said.
“Our staff have been well informed of the situation and they were briefed about it as soon as we [press office and management] were,” he added.