Canadian customs have seized a shipment of Marmite and Irn-Bru bound for a British foods shop in Canada in a crackdown on banned additives.
Tony Badger, who owns Brit Foods in Saskatoon in central Canada, said he lost more than 20,000 CAD when the cargo from the UK was seized.
Irn-Bru contains the Ponceau 4R food coloring, 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.
Tony Badger told Canada talk radio station CKOM he had been importing and selling the products since 1997.
Marmite is enriched with vitamins and minerals which are unacceptable to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency
“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.”
Tony 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.
Shoppers describe the ban on Marmite and Irn-Bru as “insanity” in a country that allows the sale of “firearms, guns and bullets”.
AG Barr, the Scottish company which manufactures Irn-Bru, produces a Canada-specific product that does not contain Ponceau 4R.
The colorant 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.
A British food shop in Canada has been ordered to stop selling Marmite, Ovaltine and Irn-Bru because they contain illegal additives.
Tony Badger, who owns Brit Foods in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, told local media that food safety officials had removed the foods from his shelves.
Other affected products include Lucozade, Penguin Bars and Bovril.
Tony Badger said he had been selling the items since 1997, and had never had problems in the past.
“We’ve been bringing Irn-Bru in since the very beginning,” Tony Badger told CKOM.
The bright orange caffeinated drink is particularly popular in Scotland, but sold in countries around the world.
“My understanding was we were importing legally. We’ve been declaring it through a customs broker and we’ve never had an issue until now,” he said.
Marmite, Ovaltine and Irn-Bru have been banned because they contain illegal additives
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is reportedly cracking down on the sale of such goods and increasing its inspections of suppliers.
Irn-Bru contains at least one additive – Ponceau 4R – which has been linked to hyperactivity and does not appear on the approved food list in Canada.
The other products are banned because they are “enriched with vitamins and mineral” while some canned foods and soup contained too much animal product.
The CFIA could not be reached for comment.
Tony Badger said he first ran into trouble in October when his Christmas stock was seized as it was imported from Britain. Then last week, officials from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency came to his shop to confiscate the remaining produce.
“The concern now is, with the next shipment, if it gets held there may be new issues with new products, so it somewhat paralyses our ability to bring new product in,” he said, adding the delays had already cost him thousands of dollars.
But he said the agency was now conducting a health assessment on the foods to determine whether they were fit for sale.
“I haven’t heard of anyone dying from consuming Irn-Bru in Scotland or Britain,” he said.
“So hopefully we will get a favorable decision.”