Wednesday, February 23, 2005

London, Dublin – The illegal food dye Sudan Red 1, derived from chillies and banned in the EU since 2003, due to an associated risk of cancer has been found in several hundred products on European shelves. Products containing the illegal ingredient range from crisps, pizzas, casseroles and various chicken products to dozens of seasonings and sauces. The Italian food authorities found the illegal dye over routine checks, and thus alerted the British and subsequently the Irish authorities.

The dye found its way into the European food supply as a primary ingredient in a batch of Crosse and Blackwell Worcester Sauce ingredient manufactured in Britain by Premier Foods, which was then used in all of the affected food products. As a result of the find over 400 products have been withdrawn in the UK and Ireland. The financial cost of recalling all the affected products in Britain alone is expected to top £100m, €145m.

Despite the recall many industry experts are trying to calm the public. One common analogy in use is, “Just like one cigarette is unlikely to cause cancer on its own, one meal containing Sudan Red is also unlikely to cause cancer.” The problem is, if people regularly consume the dye, then the risk of cancer is greatly increased.

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