East Anglian Food Ingredients has been dealt a hefty blow after becoming the second UK importer to be hit by the Para Red scandal - which is its third illegal dye contamination in three years.
Steve Clemenson, MD of EAFI, one of the suppliers at the centre of February’s Sudan 1 crisis, insisted his company had followed all necessary procedures to avoid getting caught up in the latest scare.
He said: “We can only test for what we know to test for. We
had a written statement from our Spanish supplier [Ramon Sabater] that we’d not received any contaminated ingredients, but we did precautionary tests anyway.”
However, 19 products containing spice flavouring supplied by EAFI, including Asda and Tesco own-label lines and Chicago Town pizzas, had to be recalled this week.
Research laboratories are continuing to be bombarded with requests for tests for Para Red. A spokesman for Campden & Chorleywood Food Research Association said more than 2,000 tests had been carried out since the Sudan 1 crisis broke in February.
EAFI joins Lion Foods as the only known UK importers of Para Red-contaminated ingredients. As The Grocer went to press, 73 products had been recalled, including two varieties of Old El Paso dinner kits, which sparked the scare on April 21.
Lion Foods was also supplied by Ramon Sabater, with the original batch of affected spice believed to have come from Uzbekistan. In turn, Lion Foods supplied Perfecta, Greencore, Pann Krisp and Fribo Foods. The latter two quarantined the spice before it could be used.
Brussels has decided that laboratories in the UK, the Netherlands, France and Spain will now work together to develop analytical methods for Para Red. The FSA called for suggestions from EU members on what dyes should be covered by interlaboratory testing.