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Cancer-causing dye in over 350 food products in Britain, biggest food recall in history

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    Cancer-causing dye in over 350 food products in Britain, biggest food recall in history

    Feb 19, 2005 (AXcess News) London - Health authorities in Britain have found a cancer-causing dye in over 350 food products. The illegal dye known to cause cancer has created the largest food recall in history.

    The British Food Standards Agency (FSA) said the food recall of the cancerous dye began last night with supermarkets and retailers after the dye known as Sudan I, a red colouring used typically in products such as shoe polish and petrol, was found to have been used in over 350 food stuffs from packaged Pot Noodles to shrimp salad.

    The FSA issued a warning to consumers and grocers alike Thursday. Health experts said the dye led to an increased risk of contracting cancer but that there was "no risk of immediate ill-health" from having ingested the dye.

    Experts assessed the cost of the food products recall at 15 million pounds. Manufacturers of major brands, like Heinz and Birdseye are included as well as all the major supermarkets own-brands.

    The FSA narrowed the source of the red dye to Premier Foods Plc (LSE: PFD), one of Britain's largest food processing companies. Premier had imported five-tons of Worcester Sauce, a common flavouring in processed foods, that contained the red dye.

    The Worchester Sauce had been resold to food suppliers who then used it in products manufactured for the supermarkets under their own brands.

    The FSA said that among the 359 products that contained the cancer-causing red dye, Birds Eye 400g shepherd pies, five flavours of Pot Noodle and Loyd Grossman sweet and sour sauce sold in 370g and 450g jars were being recalled.

    Mayonnaise sold to sandwich chain, Pret a Manger, was also being recalled.

    Of the major supermarket chains, Asda withdrew 68 contaminated product lines. Waitrose 54, Sainsbury's 41, Morrisons 44 and Tesco 38.

    Of the major supermarket chains, only Sainsbury's disclosed the recall on their website.

    While consumers were understandably alarmed over the food products recall, the FSA said that the amount of Worchestor Sauce used as a spice made the cancer-causing dye levels barely negligible and that people should not be concerned if they've already eaten any of the food products that contained Sudan I.

    Sudan I, part of a group of synthetic dyes soluble in oil, is normally found in batches of chili powder, often imported from the Indian sub-continent. But the use of Sudan I in food products was banned by the European Union.

    Beginning in 2003, all chili powder imported into the UK had to be free of Sudan I and properly labeled in that manner. The FSA in the past has only had to deal with recalls from Indian restaurants and caterers.

    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.