Portuguese authorities are investigating if certain foods that contain an allegedly carcinogenic colouring are still on sale.
The goods in question, 15 batches of Mexican food products Enchillada and Burrito, are from a brand called Old El Paso. The British Food and Safety Standards Agency recommended last week that the products be withdrawn after they suspected the food contained a colouring, Para Red. This has a similar chemical composition to the potentially carcinogenic Sudan 1, a sauce that was withdrawn from the English market in February.
The president of the General Directorate of Inspection and Food Quality Control, António Ramos, said that the British agency failed to inform the European Commission’s rapid alert network. Therefore, authorities did not know which countries were selling the suspicious produce.
Ramos gave assurances that the directorate was sending investigators to establish if the products are on sale in Portuguese outlets. The Directorate has dispatched detailed descriptions of the suspicious batches to warehouses and the Portuguese Association of Distributing Companies.
Pedro Picciochi, director of the Portuguese Food Safety Agency, has warned consumers to avoid the foods in question. The product’s manufacturers, the American group General Mills, have also withdrawn the product from the market.