Financial News

  • 24 January 2014, 20:39

Marmite Seized In Canada Customs Crackdown

A shipment of Marmite and Irn Bru bound for a British foods shop in Canada has been seized by local customs officials in a crackdown on banned additives.

Tony Badger, who owns Brit Foods in Saskatoon in central Canada, said he lost more than $20,000 Canadian (10,800) when the cargo from the UK was seized.

Irn-Bru contains the Ponceau 4R food colouring, while Marmite is enriched with vitamins and minerals which are unacceptable to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).

Lucozade, Penguin bars, and Bovril were also in the package and seized, as they all fall foul of the country's food laws. The CFIA is believed to be clamping down on foods that breach its laws.

Mr Badger told Canada talk radio station CKOM he had been importing and selling the products since 1997.

"We've been bringing Irn-Bru in since the very beginning. I haven't heard of anyone dying from consuming Irn-Bru in Scotland or Britain.

"All we're looking for is fair and equitable treatment. If a product is banned and they show us in writing it's banned, then we'll understand, it's banned and this is the reason."

Mr Badger said last October the shipment was detained for inspection, and he began to ask questions when the process took longer than usual.

CFIA officials then came to his store last Thursday and seized the remaining product from his shelves.

One disappointed shopper - Nigel Westwick, originally from Newcastle - said: "I couldn't understand the insanity of stopping it coming into Canada, to be honest.

"For a country that allows one to buy firearms, guns, bullets, stopping a soft drink suitable for all ages seems a little ludicrous."

AG Barr, the Scottish company which manufactures Irn-Bru, produces a Canada-specific product that does not contain Ponceau 4R.

The colourant is being removed voluntarily from its European recipe, following a request from the UK Food Standards Agency , which investigated concerns over links to hyperactivity in children.

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