Finnish Customs participated in a large-scale international operation targeting counterfeit foods during December 2016 and late March this year. In result, they found a total of 950.5 kilos of turmeric, curry and chili seasoning products in Finland, which were in breach of the food regulations.

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The batches examined contained many incorrect product specifications and residues of pesticides prohibited in organic farming were found in one turmeric powder purported to be organic.

Cancer-causing Sudan dye was found in two batches of chili and turmeric powder. “Sudan is a carcinogenic substance, which is prohibited in groceries,” said Riikka Åberg, chief of environmental health at Helsinki City Environment Centre.

Sudan dye. Picture: Wikimedia Commons

Sudan dyes are widely used in commercial manufacturing to impart a rich red, red-orange or yellow-orange color to plastics and textiles. They are cheap and easy to obtain. For this reason, some shameless producers have added the color to enhance their spices, such as chili powder, paprika and curry pastes.

Finnish Customs carried out the operation together with 61 countries. The operation was jointly coordinated by Europol and Interpol. In Finland, the customs targeted batches of spices together with the food safety authorities of the cities of Helsinki and Vantaa.

Source: The Finnish Customs

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