Last week we reported that KFC in China had confirmed the discovery of Sudan 1 in sauces used to garnish its New Orleans chicken wings and burgers, prompting the removal of the two dishes from the menu in all of its 1,000 or so Chinese outlets.
The announcement came hot on the heels of another recall, this time by US food manufacturer Heinz, which also found traces of the dye in its Chinese products. Premier Foods, a UK food producer, is currently in the process of recalling a wide range of its products after discovering they too contained Sudan 1.
While there is, as yet, no evidence to suggest that the dye will be found in products on sale in South Korea, the country's authorities are obviously determined to take no chances. The KFDA said that its inspectors will be examining the sauces used by fast food operators there, as well as cayenne pepper oil and paste, to see if it contains traces of the carcinogenic dye, targeting both imported products and those sold by domestic producers.
According to reports in the Korean press, Lim Gi-sup, the head of the Food Safety Division at the KFDA, said that there was no record of the dye being found in Korea, the precautionary tests would nonetheless be carried out. KFC in China said that it had obtained written guarantees from its suppliers that their products were Sudan 1-free, but that this had clearly not prevented the dye from being discovered.
KFC's Korean business stressed that it only used food colourings produced in Korea for its products sold there, and that the sauces used on Korean products did not contain ingredients from the same source as those sold in China.
KFC Korea is only one of the chains whose products will be tested by the KFDA. Others include Popeyes, Lotteria and BBQ, all of which sell chilli-flavoured products, the most likely to contain the carcinogenic dye. Other food chains could also be targeted, the organisation said.
The KFDA also confirmed that it had been carrying out tests on a range of imported spices and sauces since last August, and that no traces of Sudan 1 had been found.