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UK Warns About 350 Food Products with Cancer Risk


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UK Warns About 350 Food Products with Cancer Risk

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's food safety watchdog advised people Friday not to eat some 350 food products that have been inadvertently contaminated with an illegal dye that could lead to an increased risk of cancer.

The dye, Sudan I, was in a batch of chili powder used by British tea and pickle maker Premier Foods Plc to make a Worcester sauce that was subsequently used as an ingredient in a range of soups, sauces and ready meals.

"Sudan I could contribute to an increased risk of cancer," Food Standards Agency (FSA) Chief Executive Jon Bell said in a statement on the watchdog's Web Site.

"However, at the levels present the risk is likely to be very small but it is sensible to avoid eating any more. There is no risk of immediate ill health," he added.

The FSA said it was working with the industry and local authorities to ensure all the foods are removed from sale. It advised people not to eat the products and to contact the store they bought them from for a refund.

The agency said a list of the affected food products can be found on www.food.gov.uk/sudanlist.

Premier Foods was not immediately available for comment.

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British say foods tainted by cancer-linked additive exported to Canada, U.S.


LONDON (AP) - Britain's Food Standards Agency triggered an international alert Friday involving hundreds of products contaminated with a dye linked to cancer that were shipped to Canada and the United States as well as most of Europe and the Caribbean.

The agency said that the dye, Sudan I, was in a batch of chilli powder used by Premier Foods to make a Worcestershire sauce. That in turn was used as an ingredient in more than 350 frozen and fresh food products, including pies, sandwiches, sausages, soups and sauces.

The agency said it learn of the contamination when Italian authorities inspected a batch exported there by Premier.

It said the sauce had been sent to Canada, the United States, France, Greece, Switzerland, Ireland, France, Denmark, Holland, Austria, Cyprus, Belgium, Bermuda, Grenada, the Bahamas and Antigua.

The agency used the rapid alert system for food and feed, or RASFF, to send out an alert across Europe, and then to North America and elsewhere.

"Sudan I could contribute to an increased risk of cancer," said Jon Bell, chief executive of the agency. "At the levels present, the risk is likely to be very small, but it is sensible to avoid eating any more."

Sudan I is a red dye generally used for colouring oils, waxes, petrol and shoe polish. It is banned from food in Britain and across the European Union (news - web sites).

The Food Standards Agency said Sudan I can contribute to an increased risk of cancer, and it is not possible to identify a safe level or to quantify the risk.

It added that the risk from the levels present in the contaminated foods was likely to be small, but stressed that consumers should not be exposed to it unnecessarily.

Since July 2003 all chilli powder imported into Britain must be certified to be free of Sudan I and the authorities randomly sample more than 1,000 consignments a year.

The agency, which provided a full list of the contaminated products on its website, said that people who may have already purchased the products should return them for a full refund.

In Britain, the agency warned consumers against eating more than 350 frozen and fresh food products, ranging from pies to pot noodles and pizza.

Bell said the watchdog was working with British industry to swiftly remove the foods from the shelves of stores, including supermarket Sainsbury's PLC and sandwich chain Pret-A-Manger.

Given the widespread use of Worcestershire sauce to flavour other foods, Bell said that the agency might still find more affected products.

"We will continue to take action to remove these and minimize the risks to consumers," he said.

Food Standards Agency list of contaminated foods: www.food.gov.uk/sudanlist

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