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Brussels, 25 February 2005

Sudan 1: Contaminants Working Group of 24-25 February 2005 - Conclusions of the Commission

Expert Working Group on Agricultural Contaminants on Worcester sauce by the unauthorised colour Sudan I

At the request of the Commission, the issue of contamination by the dye Sudan I was addressed at the meeting of the working group of experts on agricultural contaminants which was held on 24-25 February 2005. The UK delegate presented the update of the situation in his country about the contaminated Worcester sauce by the colour Sudan I. The dye was found in chilli powder used to make Worcester sauce, which was used as an ingredient in some processed products.

This chilli powder was imported in 2002 from India. The UK believes that the whole batch has been used. The late arrival of this chilli on the market in relation to its date of import (2002) is due to the long maturation process for the production of Worcester sauce. The UK confirmed that a level of 3 mg/kg has been found in the sauce and 80 mg/kg in the concerned chilli powder.

Some Member States concerned by the incident informed on the actions taken to date in their country in the light of available information. Member States are taking action in relation to the composition of food on their market on the basis of currently available information. Some Member States would have preferred that all of them take the same measures.

Should new information on the level and scope of the contamination become available, a new meeting will be convened urgently.

The group agreed that lessons would have to be drawn with respect to the implementation by industry of the fundamental principles of the Food law (primary responsibility of food business operators, application of HACCP). The Commission informed the group that a letter to this effect had already been sent to the relevant industry association.

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