Contaminated spices and palm oils

There have been some problems with certain spices being contaminated.

There have been a number of instances of spices or other food ingredients, such as dried chilli, chilli products, curry powder and palm oil, being contaminated with very low levels of illegal dyes. In these cases there is a strong suggestion that rather than being present as a result of deliberate adulteration, the dyes may be present at very low levels as a result of accidental contamination from the environment or from machinery used to process the spice or other ingredient.

Following an EU Standing Committee of the Food Chain and Animal Health (SCoFCAH) meeting on 23 June 2006, Port Health Authorities will continue to reject products if the presence of illegal dyes is discovered at or above the level of 0.5 parts per million (0.5ppm). However, should contamination be discovered below this limit, the consignment need not be rejected. The action limit should apply irrespective of whether the High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) or Liquid Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry/Mass Spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) analytical methods have been used.

SCoFCAH, chaired by a European Commission representative and attended by representatives of EU Member States, meets normally twice a month, once on public health and once on animal health, to discuss any proposed legislation concerning the food supply chain.