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No merit given to mix-up claim.

The Food Standards Agency has rubbished claims by the Spices Board of India that the Sudan I crisis was caused by a harmless naturally occurring pigment.

CJ Jose, chairman of the government body responsible for production development and export of spices in India, has questioned the accuracy of tests carried out by laboratories in the European Union.

The detection of the illegal food dye led to the recall of 580 products in the UK and all were linked to a batch of chilli powder imported from India in 2002.

However, Jose insists that the method of testing could lead to confusion with a naturally occurring chilli pigment, Capsanthin, and that the quantities of Sudan 1 contained in many of the recalled products was too low to suggest deliberate adulteration.

But the FSA is giving no merit to his claims and said that Capsanthin and Sudan 1 were quite distinct, "Our test procedures can detect minimal traces of the dye," said a spokesman for the FSA.

"The chilli powder we tested contained significant amounts of Sudan I and we then traced that up the food chain. All products that contained the chilli were recalled, despite the dilution of quantity. By law, a product containing any Sudan 1 is banned."
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Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Apr 2, 2005
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