Sudan dyes are red dyes that are used for colouring solvents, oils, waxes, petrol, and shoe and floor polishes. They have been found in some chilli powder imported from India. They have also been found in a number of food products containing this chilli powder. Sudan dyes are not allowed to be added to food in the UK and the rest of the EU.
Fresh chillies are not affected. Investigations are continuing to identify whether any other products contain the following dyes, Sudan I, Sudan II, Sudan III and Sudan IV (otherwise known as scarlet red).
The Agency is working with local authorities to stop products containing Sudan dyes from being sold in the UK. It is also asking companies that produce and sell these products to ensure that they are withdrawn and recalled.
Since July 2003, cargoes of dried and crushed or ground chilli and curry powders coming into any EU Member State have to be accompanied by a certificate showing they have been tested and found to be free of Sudan I. Any consignment that does not have a certificate must be detained for sampling and analysis.
Random sampling must also be undertaken both at ports and by local authorities. The FSA and local authorities randomly sample more than 1000 consignments a year of imported chilli products. All consignments found to contain Sudan I to IV must be destroyed. When a consignment is split, each part must be accompanied by a copy of the certificate.
To keep up to date with all food alerts relating to Sudan dyes, click here.