Latest Para Red contaminated foods include wheat & gluten free products

Added on 10 May, 2005 . There are .

19 further products have now been added to the list of food products withdrawn from sale in the UK because of contamination with Para Red, the banned food dye which may cause cancer. The list now stands at 66 items, the latest information on the complete list is available on the Food Standards Agency website.

Added to this list are two products specifically marketed to the wheat & gluten free market:

  • Discovery Foods gluten free Mexican recipe meal kit.
    Meal kit, 388g
    Best before 25 July 2005 & 4 August 2005

  • Meridian Tikka Masala Sauce, free from gluten, wheat & dairy.
    Sauce, 350g
    Best before or use by date: July 06

The colouring was found in cayenne pepper used in the products, and although it is a known carcinogen the FSA says that the risk to health is very small. People who have any of the foods on the list at home should obtain a refund from either the store they bought it from or the manufacturer.

The first warning issued by the FSA on 5 May did not include any wheat & gluten free products, and currently only two have been identified and added to the list.

The FSA says its independent scientific experts have advised that while there is very limited data available about Para Red, "it would be prudent to assume that it could be a...carcinogen". "At the levels found, the risk from eating any of these foods is very small, but as a precaution it would be sensible not to eat them".

The contaminated spice is thought to have originated in Uzbekistan and been supplied to food manufacturers and ingredient suppliers by a Spanish company.

Para Red is chemically similar to Sudan 1, the potential carcinogen that was found in a batch of Worcester Sauce in February 2005 (our blog comment).