Sunday, 20 February 2005

The colour of deception

On Friday morning I thought, "Wow! I've had a good week: nothing's really bothered me." Then I heard the afternoon news...

I would like to give a huge slap to whomever decided to add Sudan 1 - a cancer-causing dye - to chilli powder, which went into the manufacturing of Worcester sauce, which then went into the making of *hundreds* of products. From cook-chill stuff to sauces, etc.

At first, I thought I was completely ok, because I cannot eat anything spicy, so I couldn't have eaten any of the curries they mentioned in the news. But then I discovered that this dye, which "is used for colouring solvents, oils, waxes, petrol and shoe polish" was also used in all sorts of sauces, and I've been having a particular seafood sauce *every day* for the past four years. I have digestive problems, which I've managed to control for several years by eating the same thing every single day: my lunch is poached fish (mostly trout) with boiled potatoes. I need a dollop of that seafood sauce because it's all so bland.

So I spent an anxious few hours, until they released a list of contaminated products and I also saw for myself that the sauce was still on the shelves of the supermarket (it would have been recalled by then). So mine was not contaminated. The risks are probably small for people who's had the others, but they say that there is no safe level for that dye.

The cost of recalling the products is about £100 million.

I have no doubt that the inclusion of that dye was a criminal act. It's like when they used to add chalk to flour; wood shavings to tea. Anything to save money.

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