Allergens in cumin
A number of product recalls in both America and Canada have been linked to adulterated ground cumin which contains the potentially life-threatening allergens ground peanut and almond powders. In the UK a warning has been issued that the adulterant ingredient would present a serious health risk to people sensitive or allergic to the nuts.
It is believed the contaminated cumin is of Indian origin which was routed through Turkey on its way to America and, possibly, European markets. Reacting quickly, third generation UK flavours house Unbar Rothon immediately checked with its supplier who confirmed there was neither peanut nor almond in the cumin it supplied.
The supplier, who is BRC accredited, has been used by Unbar Rothon for many years without any reported incidences of allergen cross contamination. It procures cumin from farmers in the desert state of Rajasthan in an area where no peanuts are grown and it does not handle peanuts. Its processes are limited to cleaning and grinding the cumin.
Recognising that there could be a temptation to indulge in food fraud due to shortages and in a further move to assure its customers, Unbar Rothon, the Billericay, Essex-based company, despatched samples of its cumin for challenge testing at an independent UK laboratory.
“Happily, the challenge testing was able to confirm our findings that we have a clean bill of health – there is no contamination in our cumin,” said Unbar Rothon director, Richard Rothon.