Dr David Jukes, The University of Reading, UK

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Food Law News - UK - 2015

FSA News Item, 16 February 2015

ALLERGENS - Undeclared almond incident update

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has issued a further allergy alert today following confirmation that a batch of paprika was the most likely source of undeclared almond protein in three food products which have been recalled.

The three products are the Morrison’s Fajita Meal Kit, the Aldi Fiesta brand Fajita Dinner Kit which the FSA issued allergy alerts last week (12 and 14 February) and a batch of Discovery Taco Seasoning, for which an allergy alert has been issued today (16 February).

Investigations indicated that a spice mix supplied by Santa Maria UK Ltd used in the three products contained undeclared almond protein. Subsequent industry testing revealed that the paprika in the spice mix was the most likely source. Further investigations into the supply chain of paprika are continuing.

These product withdrawals are in addition to a batch of Bart's Ground Cumin which was withdrawn from sale on 31 January because of the undeclared presence of almond. There is no evidence this was linked to the Santa Maria UK Ltd products.

The FSA has said that people with a nut allergy who have bought these products should not consume them, but should return them to where they were purchased. The levels of almond protein found in these products are low and no cases of allergic reactions linked to the affected products have been reported to the FSA.

Jason Feeney, Chief Operating Officer at the FSA, said: 'The FSA is investigating these incidents and, where potential problems are identified, we are alerting the public. We are dealing with this as part of our normal incident response, and our first priority is for the safety of allergic consumers. There is no evidence of food fraud at this stage but the Food Crime Unit will be involved if evidence of food crime emerges.'

The undeclared almond protein was identified as part of a sampling programme initiated by the FSA after certain batches of ground cumin and products containing ground cumin tested positive for undeclared peanut protein in the US and Canada.

The FSA will be asking the food industry to ensure that paprika products are included in their testing regimes. Testing of cumin and products containing cumin by the FSA and the industry will also continue.

For previous related news item, see: 31 January 2015 ALLERGENS - Bart Ground Cumin recalled

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