It's not only Sudan 1 in your food

Added on 24 Feb, 2005 . There are .

No-one can fail to be aware of the current food scare this week with hundreds of foods being recalled due to contamination with Sudan 1.

Sudan 1 is normally used as a colouring in solvents, oils, waxes, petrol, and shoe and floor polish, and experts have warned it could contribute to an increased risk of cancer.

It has emerged that the Worcester sauce containing it is used in a huge range of foods. My question is, why?

Precisely for what reason is Worcester sauce used in Cheese and Tomato Pizza, Prawn Layered Salad or Ham & Pineapple Pizza? The lists currently have over 400 contaminated products, a lot of which I fail to see why Worcester sauce needs to be present in.

The same is true for wheat.

How many products do you see the words wheat, starch, triticale in? A lot. If I'm buying a fruit yogurt why should there be wheat in it, well the simple reason is because it's a cheap filler. It bulks out the more expensive, generally healthier items in the product, and this follows through to a lot of food and drink items.

Soups, most tinned ones contain wheat, why can't they use cornflour for thickening, or maize starch, or tapioca starch? They are more expensive ingredients than wheat. The manufacturers would prefer to use the cheap, over-subsidised, over-produced, over-sprayed with chemicals to produce higher yields for poorer quality, wheat.

But the most reprehensible of all are the manufacturers that use hidden wheat. This is wheat in quantities so small that it doesn't have to be declared on the ingredients list. Usually for things like easing the product through the manufacturing process or as anti-caking agents. For example, ready ground pepper contains wheat as an anti-caking agent.

Quite a few spices again contain wheat for the same reason. Have you had a bad reaction to a food that you thought was safe from the ingredients list? Well it could have been as a result of hidden wheat in that product.

Let's face it, most food manufacturing sucks. It's all about producing food as cheaply as possible to maximise shareholders profits. For a real eyeopener why not read Not on
the Label: What Really Goes into the Food on Your Plate

Not on the Label: What Really Goes into the Food on Your Plate

There is no such thing as cheap food, Sudan 1 to make chilli powder redder, selenium deficient grain in the majority of breads, pesticide and chemical laden fruit and vegetables, poultry fed daily antibiotics, BSE, the list goes on and on.

Food Politics We are slowly poisoning our bodies, our environment and ultimately our future in the ever increasing desire for greed, poor quality and cheap quantity.

But there are food manufacturers who produce healthy, environment conscious, good quality produce. These manufacturers should be applauded as they don't always let profit get in the way of quality and ethics.

Want good soup? then why not try the New Covent Garden Soup Company. Their fresh soups are widely available in chiller cabinets. Some of their products are wheat and gluten free, and contain no genetically modified ingredients either, but you'll need to pick carefully.

Food manufacturers need to get their act together, but it won't happen until consumers make a stand and demand 'quality' food not 'cheap' food, after all look what happened to the dinosaurs...