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Thursday, June 20, 2024
EditorialsUp Front5 03/05

Up Front5 03/05

The argument that we should try, as much as possible, to eat food supplied by local producers, has been in the news again recently, after a new food scare caused a product recall on a massive scale. Although product recalls are not uncommon, this one could cost the food industry an estimated £100 million. All the major supermarket chains, along with fast food companies such as McDonalds and Pizza Hut, were forced to withdraw food items that may have been contaminated with a dye known as Sudan 1 – the dye had been found in a batch of chilli powder. Sudan 1’s dark red properties make it ideal for colouring petrol, oils, waxes and shoe polish. Its use in food, however, was banned after tests revealed it has caused leukaemia in laboratory mice. The Sudan 1 scare has resulted in more than 400 products being recalled, and it comes on the back of two other food scares this month in America as well as one in Northern Ireland. Although the original source of the latest problem has been blamed on unscrupulous suppliers, the complexity of the supply chain highlights the need for complete traceability in our food. While the industry claims that it is that very traceability that has allowed it to track the products affected by the latest scare, the chilli powder containing Sudan 1 passed through at least four different companies before arriving at the retail outlets. The original supplier has not yet been named and legal wrangling will likely rumble on for some time, but we must be thankful that the powder wasn’t laced with something even more sinister.

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