G.K. Nair

Kochi, March 9

THE Spices Board has advised all the exporters registered with it to get the samples of food products such as pickles produced by them for export checked for the presence of Sudan 1. It has also said shipments could be done only after obtaining the necessary certificate from the Board.

The Board had made it stringent following the recent reports of presence of Sudan dye in some of the food products having chilli as an ingredient in the UK.

The UK Food Standard Authority (FSA) had last month confirmed that the chilli powder said to have been used in the Worcester sauce and had been identified as the cause of the Sudan 1 contamination, was imported in to the country in 2002 from an exporter in Mumbai and it had changed three hands before it reached the producer of the sauce.

Anticipating that kind of problems "we have advised all the registered exporters to send samples to the Board's laboratory to ensure that the chilli used in the product does not have the presence of Sudan 1 as we want to plug all the loopholes," Mr C.J. Jose, Chairman, Spices Board told Business Line.

He said that the Board had set up the laboratory with modern equipment where the samples could be checked and certificates issued in 24 hours.

In fact, the Board following receipt of the first Rapid Alert Notification on May 12, 2003 from France for the presence of "Sudan Red" in hot chilli had suspended the registration of the involved exporters in June 2003 and introduced mandatory sampling and analysis for Sudan 1 of chilli and chilli products irrespective of destination of export, he said.

Besides, it had also extended the scope of analysis to cover aflatoxin.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated March 10, 2005)
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