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Food and Feed Safety (04-04-2005)

Curcuma and virgin palm oil added to list of products to be tested for Sudan Dyes

Curcuma and virgin palm oil have been added to the list of food products which must be accompanied by an analytical report showing that they do not contain Sudan I, Sudan II, Sudan III or Scarlet Red (Sudan IV) dyes, in order to be imported into the EU. The Standing Committee on the Food Chain endorsed a Commission proposal to add these two products to the list, which also includes chilli and chilli products. Numerous consignments of curcuma and virgin palm oil have been found to be contaminated with Sudan dyes in controls carried out by Member States.

Sudan dyes have been classified as carcinogenic by the International Agency for Research on Cancer. They are excluded from the EU positive list of colours authorised for use in food, and are banned from food use in the EU. Moreover, the Commission adopted Decision 2003/460/EC (updated in Decision 2004/92/EC) to put emergency control measures in place for Sudan dye in foodstuffs. National authorities are responsible for ensuring that imports of chilli powders and products are free from Sudan dyes, and if these dyes are detected they must use the Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed to inform the Commission and other Member States.

More information on Commission measures related to Sudan dye can be found here.