Food agency pulls more Para Red products

Related tags Para red Food European union

The trickle of food products contaminated with the illegal colour
Para Red continues in the UK, with the country's food agency
identifying nineteen more food products for recall yesterday,
writes Lindsey Partos.

While early days - Para Red was only identified for the first time ever in the UK earlier this month - the rising numbers of pulled products from the supermarket shelves fires the debate for tighter testing of ingredients.

Among the latest batch of recalled products, bringing the total to over 65 products, are sweet chilli crisps and a fajita meal kit from Tesco, Pataks 'Bombay Bites', and several types of pizza from the Chicago Town brand.

Illegal under the 1995 Colours in Food Regulations, the chemical dye paranitraniline red is a genotoxic carcinogen chemically similar to Sudan 1, the banned red colour at the heart of the UK's biggest food recall earlier this year.

At a cost of millions of euros to the food industry in both brand damage, consumer confidence and unforseen spending, over 600 processed food products were pulled from the UK shelves.

The industry has yet to recuperate from the shockwaves, and in many respects can ill afford a repetition of this event in the form of a Para Red recall.

According to the FSA, the latest contaminated spice was supplied by Spanish company, Ramon Sabater, and is believed to originate in Uzbekistan. East Anglian Food Ingredients distributed the spice to a variety of customers who have incorporated it into their products.

Following confirmation of contamination the FSA issued notices to the companies concerned that the products should be recalled on 3 May.

Once again, the discovery raises probing questions over the efficient use testing of stocks deemed for the food chain. In February, European Health Commissioner Markos Kyprianou clearly laid responsibility with the food processors for the Sudan 1 'outbreak'.

He claimed industrial operators had failed in their "responsibilities and cleaned up their stocks of raw material."

The contamination of spices with illegal dyes is a European-wide issue and the FSA has been pressing the European Commission to lead a co-ordinated approach to the issue, claims the agency.

Member States will meet today under the aegis of the Commission to consider the best way to tackle the problem.

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