CUSTOMERS have pledged their support for a Huddersfield food company hit by a product scare.
Martin Shaw, chairman of Huddersfield food company Shaws, today paid tribute to customers and consumers who have been quick to demonstrate their support.
It follows the news that the company has been forced to withdraw part of the range of its "1889 Yorkshire" products due to the presence of a colouring substance which had been added illegally to one of the ingredients.
The dyestuff, Sudan 1, is thought to have been put into chilli powders in India before they were exported to the UK. The colourant can cause cancer.
Mr Shaw, who has come out of retirement to help the firm through the problems, said: "Since the news broke we have received many telephone calls from customers expressing their concern and sympathy with our plight.
"Members of the public too have been calling to wish us well and assure us that they will continue to buy their favourite chutneys and relishes.
"It really has been very touching and we are extremely grateful to receive this support at such a difficult time."
Production director Matthew Shaw said: "We can only assume that the colour in question, Sudan 1, was added to sophisticate, or `tart up', the appearance of the raw material.
"The irony is that Shaws are concerned only with the flavour and not the colour of the product.
"However, one redeeming feature as far as Shaws is concerned is that we changed suppliers of our chilli powder in January this year. The product now used is milled from whole spices here in the UK and Shaws' production since February 1 is unaffected.
"It would seem that our difficulty is just the tip of an iceberg as the scale of the contamination of other manufacturers' spiced foodstuffs is revealed. At least they will have had some advance warning. To Shaws it came as a complete bombshell."
Shaws have recalled 14 products from sale and have urged customers to check in their cupboards.