Food’s Hatfield

Risks to health from the Sudan 1 food dye are assessed to be ‘very small’ by the Food Standards Agency (you’d need to eat two or three wheelbarrows of Branston pickle to get close to a dangerous dose). The simple withdrawal of Sudan 1 from manufacturers’ stock rooms would have been the appropriate response. Instead we have the insanity of a total purge of the food chain, costing tens of millions and producing its own new and unquantifiable risks, epic waste and serious economic damage to the whole chain, especially to smaller firms. The Food Standards Agency has been ‘captured’, to use the trendy term, by the infantile ‘precautionary principle‘ and bounced into a Hatfield-scale overreaction – the only beneficiaries will, as usual, be the fear merchants in the pop press.

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