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Unlabelled Nuts Prompt FSA Investigation
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has launched a nationwide investigation after traces of almonds were found in foods not labelled as containing nuts. It’s thought that nuts may have been used as a cheap alternative to cumin which enhances flavour in soups and stews and is a major ingredient of curry powder.
Fajita meal kits at both Aldi and Morrisons have been removed from the shelves, both supermarkets being supplied by the Bart Ingredients Company based in Bristol. Professor Chris Elliott believes this is the first real test of the integrity of the UK food supply system since he led the government’s response to the horsemeat scandal.
Talking to the Independent he said; “It’s much more serious because in the whole horsemeat scandal nobody got ill and nobody died because of it. But if you happen to be allergic to almonds or peanuts there is the potential of getting ill or even dying because of it. So the challenge is there.”
The FSA will be testing samples of cumin seeds and ground cumin from supermarkets, grocery shops and wholesalers as well as consignments stopped at ports. The agency however have been quick to stress that it is too early to consider whether the inclusion of nuts in products is accidental or linked to food fraud.
Three quarters of the world’s supply of cumin comes from the Gujarat region of India which has seen crop yields decimated by high temperatures increasing prices by a third.