RED ALERT: FOOD SAFETY LESSONS FROM DYE CONTAMINANTS IN SPICE SUPPLY
Adulteration of spices with illegal dyes, detected in February and March and again in May, has recently caused the biggest food scare in Britain since bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) and the biggest food recall of processed products from UK retailers (costing over £100 million sterling) and subsequent recall from Europe. Over 600 diverse foods have been contaminated, generating considerable public concerns in Britain and leading to an international food alert. Chilli, cayenne and paprika pepper including curry spice mixes, contaminated with the industrial dyes Sudan I and Para Red, potential genotoxic carcinogens, are at fault. Although banned and illegal in many countries, these particular colorants have been widely distributed through pepper spice supply chains and then distributed even more widely through their incorporation into processed foods. Although originating in the UK, following widespread use of these adulterated spices in food manufacture, many countries have now been impacted through contaminated food exports, highlighting the interconnection of modern food supply chains. Does this new crisis cast doubt on the improved food safety system adopted in the UK (and European Union) after BSE? Are there further lessons to be learned? This paper will assess the implications for future food policy and the processes of food safety regulation.
Davies, W.P., Baines, R.N. and Turner, J.X. (2006). RED ALERT: FOOD SAFETY LESSONS FROM DYE CONTAMINANTS IN SPICE SUPPLY. Acta Hortic. 699, 143-150