The Food Standards Agency today (Friday) advised people not to eat foods that have been inadvertently contaminated with the illegal dye, Sudan I. The dye was in a batch of chilli powder used by Premier Foods to manufacture a Worcester sauce, which was then used as an ingredient in a wide range of products.

"The Agency is working with the industry and local authorities to ensure that any remaining affected foods are removed from sale," it said.

"Sudan I could contribute to an increased risk of cancer," said agency chief executive Dr Jon Bell. "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."

The Agency said it was working with the industry to ensure that any remaining affected products were speedily removed.

"Because of the widespread use of this Worcester sauce to flavour other foods, we may find further affected products" it said. "We will continue to take action to remove these and minimise the risks to consumers." The foods, which include soups, sauces and ready meals, had been distributed widely and at least 350 food products were currently known to be affected. "The companies whose products are listed are cooperating with the Agency to ensure the products are withdrawn."

Sudan I is banned in the UK and across the EU. "The FSA and local authorities randomly sample more than 1000 consignments a year of imported chilli products," the agency said. "However, this batch predates this sampling programme and was uncovered after sampling of Worcester sauce produced by Premier Foods exported to Italy."

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