Two batches of Imedeen Prime Renewal supplements (GF 8999 and GF 8989), both with a best before date of June 2007, are believed to have been affected. Ferrosan has written to all recipients of the product requesting that they withdraw them from sale and return them to the distributor.
In a Food Alert for Information issued today, the UK's Food Standards Agency said that there are no immediate safety implications arising from use of the products. But the white tea extract was manufactured in China by the China National Chemical Construction Anhui Company in Hefei, which is not an approved irradiation plant. This means that the products do not comply with the 1990 Food (Control of Irradiation) Regulations 1990.
The FSA's Stuart Conney explained to NutraIngredients.com that food irradiation takes place to rid them of biological contamination. It involves passing beams of radiation through food, some of which is absorbed by, and kills, the bacteria. Research has shown that the process is safe and does not make food radioactive.
"Food irradiation makes products safer," he said.
There are a number of approved plants in the EU and 'third countries. "Unless irradiation takes place at an approved plant we don't know what process it has done through," said Conney.
Moreover, the Ferrosan products are not labelled as being irradiated and so do not comply with The Food Labeling Regulations 1996.
The Food Standards Agency said that no other batches are known to be affected.
A spokesperson for Ferrosan was not available to comment on how the irradiated extract came to be in the products and what measures the company is implementing to ensure the situation does not recur.