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Cancer-causing dye is discovered in 350 foods

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Introduction

Cancer-causing dye is discovered in 350 foods By Joe Elston 18 February 2005 Britain's largest food recall was under way last night after an illegal dye known to cause cancer was found to have contaminated millions of ready meals and cooking sauces. More than 350 product lines, ranging from prawn salad to Pot Noodles, were being withdrawn by supermarkets and retailers after the Food Standards Agency (FSA) warned they were contaminated by Sudan I - a red colouring normally used in products such as shoe polish and petrol. Medical experts said the presence of the chemical led to an increased risk of cancer but insisted that there was no risk of "immediate ill-health". ...read more.

Middle

Asda was the worst-hit of the major supermarket chains, withdrawing 68 contaminated product lines. Waitrose has 54 affected products, Sainsbury's 41, Morrisons 44, and Tesco 38. Senior officials at the watchdog confirmed that the "very considerable" recall, likely to amount to several million individual packets and jars, was the largest they had dealt with and that further products could be added to the contaminated list. But the watchdog also underlined the withdrawal was precautionary. The FSA said the contaminated chilli formed a minor ingredient in the Worcester Sauce, meaning that levels of Sudan I in the subsequently affected foods were almost untraceable. Dr Jon Bell, the FSA's chief executive, said: "Sudan I could contribute to an increased risk of cancer. ...read more.

Conclusion

The contaminated Worcester Sauce was only detected after an unspecified quantity was sold to an Italian manufacturer, which detected the Sudan I in its own tests and alerted the Italian authorities. Premier Foods said it had received the chilli powder from a "reputable UK source" and obtained "written assurance" that it did not contain Sudan I. In a statement, the Hertfordshire-based company said: "It must be stressed that the product withdrawal is a purely precautionary measure." It is understood that the company will now be investigated by trading standards officers to determine the source of the contamination. The major supermarket chains said that all contaminated ranges had already been removed from shelves by yesterday afternoon. Consumers are being asked to check their cupboards and fridges for suspect products. A list ofaffected products can be found at the website: ...read more.

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