Officials downplay impact of Sudan 1

GCC countries have been unaffected by the Sudan 1 food scare in the UK, according to government officials.

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By  Robbie Greenfield Published  March 7, 2005

Regional officials have downplayed concerns that the GCC could be impacted by one of the biggest food recall crises to hit Britain in decades. The discovery of cancer-causing dye, Sudan 1, in the UK food chain, which had authorities scrambling to recall over 400 products from the shelves of UK stores, will have little impact on trade in the Gulf, Retail News Middle East has been told. “Out of the hundreds of products that were found to contain Sudan 1 in the UK, only eight items were found to contain the chemical in the UAE — and they were swiftly removed from stock,” said Khalid Sharif, assistant health director, Dubai municipality. Sudan 1 has been banned from the region for over seven months, prompting Sharif to assert that in Dubai, “there have been no instances involving Sudan 1.” “We are confident that the problem has been dealt with. Food consignments that arrive from the UK are being rigorously checked. It is now just a case of monitoring imports thoroughly,” he added. Meanwhile, Bahrain’s supermarkets have been put on the alert against potentially contaminated imports from the UK. Bahrain Health Ministry inspectors have so far pulled three items from the shelves: Walkers Worcester Sauce flavoured crisps, Colman’s Sea Food sauce and Waitrose Shepherd’s Pie. Inspection teams have been formed to investigate the issue, and similar imported products suspected of carrying a threat are to be shown the red light. The crisis began in the UK when the dye was found in chili powder, which appears to have made its way into manufactured foods. There was some early confusion when the scare first hit UK headlines last month. Retailer Choithram said it had withdrawn some suspect products, whereas Union Co-operative at one point told local newspapers it was unaware of the threat. Sharif says that not all supermarkets were warned about the health scare, “only those that bring in products from the UK.” With British retailers having yanked products from their shelves and food manufacturers changing the composition of their products, it looks like GCC countries can now breathe easy.

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