The Food Standards Agency has taken action to stop the sale of a number of products which contain dried irradiated yeast from China, in breach of UK regulations.
The products recalled include some batches of Snacks Unlimited’s Weight Watchers Smokey Bacon Corn Bites and Burton’s Snackrite Mini Cheese Thins, Mini Pickle Thins and Tesco Baked Mini Cheese Thins (see below for batch numbers).
While the agency has taken action to remove the affected yeast and products not yet on sale from the food chain, it will not recall products currently on sale or those which have been sold. The yeast and affected products do not pose a safety risk.
Spot testing by a US company revealed that the yeast, which originated from China’s Shanghai Evergreen Chemicals Company, was irradiated. It was imported into the UK by food broker FuerstDay Lawson and distributed to food manufacturers by Overseal Natural Ingredients.
The FSA’s chief scientist Andrew Wadge said: “This is not a food safety issue. But it is a breach of regulations and the sensible and proportionate approach is to prevent any more getting into the food chain. The Agency is ensuring manufacturers dispose of this product."
The agency has organised a meeting with food manufacturers.
Irradiation raises the temperature of food by a few degrees to kill bacteria. Current UK regulations only allow for the irradiation of seven categories of food, not including yeast.
Affected products are: Snacks Unlimited’s Weight Watchers Smokey Bacon Corn Bites; batch 8153 BBE 21 September 2008 and batch 8157 BBE 25 September 2008; Burton’s Snackrite Mini Cheese Thins BBE 22 October 2008 to 22 November 2008, Snackrite Mini Pickle Thins BBE 25 October 2008 to 22 November 2008 and Tesco Baked Mini Cheese Thins BBE 25 October 2008 to 22 November 2008.