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Tainted Red Food Dye Found in 9 Provinces

The State Administration for Industry and Commerce revealed on Thursday that products containing Sudan I, a potentially cancer-causing colorant, have spread into nine provinces.

The affected provinces include Guangdong, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Chongqing Municipality and the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.
Local authorities have been ordered to sort out any tainted products on shelves or in stockrooms, the report said.
The products, Lajiaohong (red pepper) I, are a food additive which are produced by the Tianyang Food Co. Ltd., based in Guangzhou of south China's Guangdong Province.
Investigators have found the Tianyang company is one of the original suppliers for the Heinz Meiweiyuan (Guangzhou) Food Co. Ltd. Heinz Meiweiyuan's pepper sauce has been confirmed to contain Sudan I, an industrial dye.
According to the Xinhua news report, the dye is typically used to add color to solvents, oils, waxes, and shoe and floor polish.
Both China and the European Union ban the use of Sudan I in food production.
The British Food Standards Agency in February warned consumers of food that has been contaminated with Sudan I.
It also offered a list of products on its website that might contain the dye.
On March 4, a pepper sauce, Meiweiyuan, produced by the Guangzhou-based Heinz Meiweiyuan (Guangzhou) Food Co. Ltd., was found in Beijing to contain Sudan I.
On the same day, the State Administration for Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine required the Heinz Meiweiyuan (Guangzhou) Food Co. Ltd. to recall its affected products.
In the next several days, products containing the dye were gradually found in many other regions.
To date, 698 bottles of Meiweiyuan pepper sauce have been seized by Beijing authorities, according to the report.
In Zhanjiang and Maoming, two coastal cities in Leizhou Peninsula in western part of Guangdong Province, as many as 40 kilograms of raw materials, 140 kilograms of dyes and 659 bottles of chili sauce that may contain the dye, have been inspected in the past two days.
And all the suspected products have been sealed up for further testing, Liang Xiuxing, director of Zhanjiang Municipal Industrial and Commercial Administration, said yesterday.
"The products that might contain Sudan I have been produced by Heinz Meiweiyuan (Guangzhou) Food Co. Ltd., a subsidiary of Heinz Company, and Guangzhou Tianyang Food Co. Ltd., one of Heinz's suppliers," Liang said.
And Guangdong is continuing to launch carpet inspections for Sudan I throughout the entire province, which borders Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions.
Ren Xiaotie, deputy director-general of Guangdong Provincial Administration of Quality Supervision, said his administration would try to prevent the products from spreading any other areas.
Early this week, law enforcement personnel in Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong Province, inspected and sealed up 60,624 bottles of pepper oil, 119.4 kilograms of pepper extract, 66,636 bottles of pepper sauce, 713.9 kilograms of pepper powder, 1,800 bottles of red vinegar, 34,155 bottles of seafood sauce and some other dyes, additives and related materials and products that were produced by Heinz.

(Xinhua News Agency March 12, 2005)

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