ConsumerTalk with Wendy Knowler

SA-made Rolkem cake decoration products may not be safe to eat

A government body in the United Kingdom (UK) has issued a warning about products made by South Africa’s leading food colouring company, Rolkem.

The UK’s Food Standards Agency (FSA) issued an advisory on Tuesday, claiming that Rolkem failed to confirm that their ingredients were safe to eat.

Earlier this year, Rolkem had to recall two of its shiny products because they were found to contain a high concentration of copper.

The affected batches of their Special Rose Gold and Super Gold products were sold to export markets, including the UK.

Read the full food alert here.

Consumer journalist Wendy Knowler says that cake decorating and design is a growing global movement.

However, health authorities are not closely regulating the massive cake decorations industry, she says.

Read: Restaurants can be held liable if they don't disclose food allergens on menus

The sugar art uses icing, frosting and other edible decorative elements to make plain cakes more visually enticing.

Knowler says that many of these decorative elements are not food-grade or intended for human consumption.

Read more: 'Fake cheese' on the menu? Wendy Knowler talks dairy product dupes

Meanwhile, Rolkem CEO Andries Kemp says the company has put in additional testing measures in order to prevent food fraud by their ingredient suppliers.

Kemp says Rolkem was unable to meet the FSA's food certification deadline because of the lengthy process required to tests their products at independent labs.

Also read: Freedom Bakery faces heat over food fraud allegations

We are in contact with the UK's FSA.

Andries Kemp, CEO of Rolkem

We have implemented that each and every batch of raw material... is individually tested by a laboratory and then certifies to be the correct grade.

Andries Kemp, CEO of Rolkem

We procure our ingredients from all over the world and the copper content of the Special Rose Gold and Super Gold was because of a batch of nano-gold particles.

Andries Kemp, CEO of Rolkem

Unfortunately the documents that arrived with the product from the suppliers was not accurate.

Andries Kemp, CEO of Rolkem

Glitters on cupcakes should not be allowed... We need to educate the public and consumers on edibility.

Andries Kemp, CEO of Rolkem

Kemp discusses how some of the products are made, their intended use and how consumers can check for safety.

Take a listen to the insightful discussion during Consumer Talk:

Every Wednesday, on The Pippa Hudson Show, Wendy Knowler provides useful insights and tips on how to make the most of your buying power.

For more stories visit the ConsumerTalk feature page.

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