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Now Tesco has recalled one of its products because of nut worries

Got nut allergies? Here are the facts about the latest scares

Image: Shutterstock/primopiano

FOLLOWING A NUMBER of product recalls in the UK and Ireland over the past week, Tesco Ireland has asked some customers to send back Fajitas Meal Kit they may have bought from their stores.

According to a notice issued today by the Food Safety Authority, there are fears over an almond protein – detected in the seasoning mix – which was not declared on the label.

“These batches may be unsafe for consumers who are allergic to or intolerant of almond or its constituents,” the alert said.

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The products impacted are: Tesco Fajitas Meal Kit, pack size: 475g; best before dates: 16-17 May, 30 May, 7-8 June and 25 June, all this year.

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On Monday, we looked at the number of recalls of packaged food products in Ireland and the UK over the presence of undeclared nuts in a seasoning mix.

This came on foot of the discovery of almond traces in the spice ground cumin in the UK.

The Aldi Fiesta Fajita Dinner was recalled in Ireland after it was discovered that the seasoning mix also contained low levels of almond protein.

Over in the UK, Morrisons recalled its Fajita Meal Kit last Thursday, due to the same reason.

The Bart Ingredients Company in Bristol found almond protein traces in batches of ground cumin in late January.

Now the two have been linked in the UK press, with some news outlets reporting that people with nut allergies should temporarily avoid processed food containing cumin:

telegraph nuts Source: Independent

daily mail nuts Source: Daily Mail

t nuts Source: Telegraph

The UK’s Independent reported that people with nut allergies “have been advised to avoid supermarket curries and other products containing cumin” while the Food Standards Agency in the UK undertakes a nationwide testing programme.

It says there are fears that peanut and almond proteins “may have been used as a cheap substitute” for the spice cumin.

However, the Telegraph has a quote from an FSA spokesperson, who said “currently there is no evidence to link the two alerts on undeclared almond protein”.

Undeclared almond in food could have severe affects for nut allergy sufferers. The FSA itself said that no allergic reactions to the recalled cumin product have been reported to it.

It also explained about the Barts Ingredients Company cumin recall:

The undeclared almond protein was identified as part of a sampling programme initiated by the FSA after certain batches of ground cumin and products containing ground cumin tested positive for undeclared peanut protein in the US and Canada. None of the products recalled in the US and Canada was distributed to the UK, however, as a precaution the FSA began testing cumin sold in this country.

After an extensive sampling programme, it discovered undeclared almond protein in just one product – the ground cumin from Barts.

Jason Feeney, Chief Operating Officer at the FSA, said: “Currently there is no evidence to suggest that the undeclared almond protein found in this product is linked to the problems with Cumin found in the US and Canada. Investigations are on-going.’

But should people in Ireland be concerned?

We asked a spokesperson for the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) about the issues.

They told TheJournal.ie that there is “no evidence to suggest at the moment that nuts are being substituted for cumin in the food chain” and that it is “incorrect” to conclude there is deliberate contamination of spices.

“Accidental cross-contamination can occur,” she said. “We are often doing recalls of products because of that.”

Sometimes, products are mislabelled, and then removed from supermarket shelves when this is discovered.

The FSAI will be working closely with the UK’s FSA on the issue.

“It‘s not good [to have mislabelled food], especially if you have a nut allergy,” concluded the FSAI spokesperson, “but it is not abnormal”.

Sinn Féin Dublin MEP Lynn Boylan has called on the Minister of Health Leo Varadkar to establish a system to “be on the lookout for emerging food safety issues” so that possible problems or fraud could be flagged much earlier.

“In the case of the horsemeat scandal, there were lots of warning signs but no facility whereby the information could be shared or concerns brought to light,” she said.

Read: Aldi fajita dinner recalled over undeclared nuts>

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