Sudan I timeline
Thursday 24 February 2005
Sudan I was first discovered in adulterated chilli products in May 2003. Since then the Food Standards Agency has been working to ensure that it has been kept out of the food chain. Read our timeline to find out what happened between May 2003 and the major recall of products in February 2005.
Friday 9 May 2003
France informs the European Commission that testing has detected the illegal dye Sudan I in hot chilli products originating in India.
Wednesday 30 July 2003
UK implementation of European Commission emergency measures comes into force covering the import of hot chilli and hot chilli products from India. All consignments must be accompanied by a certificate showing that they have been tested and are free from Sudan I. If there is no certificate they are to be tested at the port of entry to the EU. Member states are asked to carry out random sampling and analysis of consignments at import and products already on the market.
Thursday 31 July 2003
The Food Standards Agency issues its first food hazard warnings (now called food alerts) on Sudan I found in products containing hot chilli. Local authorities are asked to ensure 25 products are removed from sale.
Monday 15 September 2003
The Agency issues guidance to industry, asking companies to withdraw and recall contaminated products as soon as they are identified. The FSA also asks all manufacturers who use chilli powder or chilli products to ensure that if it was imported from India and supplied to them prior to 30 July 2003 that it has not been contaminated with Sudan dyes.
The guidance adds: ‘These companies should consider sampling relevant batches in order to ensure that their products are not contaminated. The FSA would like to be notified of all results whether they are positive or negative, in order to obtain as much information as possible about the distribution of contaminated chilli products.’
Wednesday 18 February 2004
The Agency issues updated guidance to industry, asking companies to withdraw and recall contaminated products as soon as they are identified. The FSA also asks all manufacturers who use chilli powder or chilli products to ensure that if it was imported from India and supplied to them prior to 27 January 2004 that it has not been contaminated with Sudan dyes. The guidance repeats the Agency's request for companies to sample relevant batches in order to ensure that their products are not contaminated and to notify the Agency of all results.
31 July 2003 – 31 January 2005
In the 18 months since it first became aware of the adulteration of chilli products with Sudan dyes the Agency issues 56 food hazard warnings/food alerts on Sudan dyes, involving more than 200 products.
Monday 7 February 2005
Premier Foods informs the FSA that a customer sample of Worcester Sauce in Italy had tested positive for Sudan I (Crosse & Blackwell Worcester Sauce). Premier Foods advises the Agency that it will carry out further tests to check the results.
Wednesday 9 February 2005
Premier Foods informs the FSA that five products could be affected.
Thursday 10 February 2005
Test results are received by the FSA and it is informed that Crosse and Blackwell Worcester Sauce and a 2002 batch of chilli powder have tested positive for Sudan I.
Friday 11 February 2005
Premier Foods informs the FSA that it is compiling a list of customers for the five products.
Monday 14 February 2005
Premier Foods provides the FSA with a list of more than 160 customers in the UK. Hundreds of products are potentially affected.
Tuesday 15 February 2005
The FSA meets with representatives of the food industry and requires full disclosure by companies of their affected products, their removal from sale and appropriate publicity to inform consumers.
Wednesday 16 February 2005
The FSA meets again with food industry representatives and repeats its demand for detailed product information.
Thursday 17 February 2005
The bulk of the information on the affected products is received in the evening via the British Retail Consortium.
Friday 18 February 2005
Further product information continues to arrive. A press release is issued by the FSA and a list of some 360 products placed on the Agency website at 1.30pm.
Monday 21 February 2005
Sixty products are added to the list, a second press release is issued, a further meeting with retailers is held, and a deadline of Thursday 24 February is set for the removal from sale of all contaminated products.
Tuesday 22 February 2005
Nine additional products are added to the list of food products contaminated with the illegal dye Sudan I.
Thursday 24 February 2005
The Agency announces that over the past week it has co-ordinated with local authorities further inspections of companies and factories allegedly involved in the supply of foods contaminated with the illegal dye Sudan I. The investigation is the largest of its kind ever undertaken in the UK. The information will form part of the Agency’s wider investigation to establish how this failure in the industry’s legal duty to provide safe and fit food happened. The Agency’s advice to local authorities is that they will need to consider enforcement action on the basis of the evidence they collect
Thursday 24 February 2005
The Agency adds 146 more products to the list of food products contaminated with the illegal dye Sudan I, taking the total to 474. The Agency says that the vast majority of products contaminated with Sudan I have been removed from sale.
Tuesday 8 March 2005
The Agency is advised of a further 43 products that companies have withdrawn from the food chain as a result of Sudan I contamination, bringing the total to 580.