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Two arrested in Sudan I affair
By Zheng Caixiong (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-04-12 06:36

GUANGZHOU: Two senior ex-ecutives from the Guangzhou Tianyang Food Co Ltd have been detained on suspicion of supplying the carcinogenic additive Sudan I to more than 30 food manufacturers, including Heinz food's Chinese subsidiary.

The two General Manager Tan Weitang and his assistant Feng Yonghua were taken in by police on Saturday, an official from the Guangzhou Municipal Bureau of Quality Supervision and Inspection said yesterday.

Since February, up to 88 products in China have been found to contain the banned chemical.

Officials say Feng has admitted his company secretly put food additives containing Sudan I into its chilli oil which has been sold to companies in Guangdong, Zhejiang, Anhui, Henan and Jiangsu provinces since 2002.

It is believed the Guangzhou Tianyang Food Co Ltd represents the source of all China's Sudan I cases.

Tan and Feng are the first and, so far, only people to have been detained over the affair.

All products on the mainland found to have been contaminated with Sudan I have been linked to chilli oil and food additives provided by the Guangzhou Tianyang Food Co Ltd, based in Zengcheng, a suburb of Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong Province in South China.

Heinz Meiweiyuan (Guangzhou) Food Co Ltd, a subsidiary of US food giant Heinz, became the first mainland company to confirm the presence of Sudan I in its food on February 4 this year.

Heinz said it had purchased the contaminated ingredients from the Tianyang Food Co Ltd.

Last month, Heinz Meiweiyuan (Guangzhou) Food Co Ltd destroyed more than 300,450 bottles of chilli sauce and chilli oil that were found to contain the banned colourant.

Other contaminated products included instant noodles produced by a company in the Zhuhai Special Economic Zone that borders the Macao Special Administrative Region and in March various items on the menu at US fast food chain KFC were identified as being unsafe.

Sudan-I is a red dye used for coloring solvents, oils, waxes, petrol and shoe and floor polishes. It cannot safely be used in food, as it can contribute to an increased risk of cancer. The dye was found by the Food Standards Agency of Britain on February 18 in a batch of chilli powder made by UK's Premier Foods.

(China Daily 04/12/2005 page2)

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