Seven percent of foods randomly tested by federal inspectors violated Food and Drug Act regulations on colouring and industrial dyes, including cheddar cheese.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency would not name the cheese it tested, or what action was taken, but said results were obtained at a federal laboratory in Longueil, Que.
The agency yesterday reported its audit of everyday supermarket items found most dyed products fell within acceptable limits. Of 100 foods sampled, seven contained either excessive levels of colouring, or industrial dyes not allowed under the Food and Drug Act.
Three of the suspect foods were Canadian-made: cheddar cheese, horseradish with beets, and dried papaya.
Others were U.S.-made chicken tandoori seasoning, and lumpfish; Belgian almond paste; and curing powder produced in Thailand, used to preserve meats.
“With increasing multiculturalism and market globalization, consumers can find an ever increasing array of processed foods available at retail,” the agency wrote in its report Food Colours Used in the Production of Manufactured Foods; “Exposure to food colours has likely increased as a result.”
Dyes and colouring are regulated for purity, toxicity and potential allergic reactions. The agency noted U.K. research has suggested a link between food colouring and Attention Deficit Disorder in children, but added: “This area of research is controversial and the evidence corroborating this claim is not concrete.”