Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Various brands of Raw and Brown Sugar Recalled

Woolworths brand Brown Sugar 500g & 1kg, and Chelsea Brand Soft Brown Sugar  500g, 1kg, & 25kg (two of the brands of sugar Recalled among others listed below)

Chelsea Sugar New Zealand is undertaking a recall of raw sugar because of low-level lead contamination.

A New Zealand Food Safety (NZFS) expert science assessment, which has been independently peer-reviewed, found the immediate food safety risk from this raw sugar is low but supports a recall.

MPI Deputy Director-General Vincent Arbuckle says the risk assessment is based on the levels of lead detected in the raw sugar and the potential exposure for consumers.

"The immediate food safety risk is considered to be low as the amount consumed will not cause illness. In addition, at the levels of lead detected someone would have to consume the contaminated product over a long period of time for it to be a concern.

"The problem has been identified by the producer and responsible action has been taken to stop further release of the affected raw sugar into the market and recall the product from shelves and consumers."

Mr Arbuckle says Chelsea Sugar detected the contamination as part of routine testing of product imported from Australia.

"While there are background levels of lead in the environment, the recall is a precautionary measure to ensure any risk to consumers is minimised.

"In the meantime, we are working closely with the company to find out how the issue arose and prevent it from recurring.

"At this stage it appears the contamination occurred as a result of the product being transported in a ship which had previously been used for industrial materials.

"Some of the affected imported sugar has been refined into retail-ready raw sugar and is being recalled from retailers and consumers," Mr Arbuckle says.

This recall does not affect refined white sugar.

Specific batches and batch numbers of the below listed products are affected by this recall: 

Chelsea brand Raw Sugar (500g, 1.2kg, 4kg, 25kg): Lot 21271 through to Lot 21303 

Chelsea brand Raw Sugar (25kg): Lot 21270 through to Lot 21306

Chelsea brand Soft Brown Sugar (500g, 1kg, 25kg): Lot 21280 through to Lot 21293

Chelsea brand Soft Brown Sugar (25kg): Lot 21270 through to Lot 21306.

Pams brand Raw Sugar (1kg): Lot 21270 through to Lot 21302

Pams brand Soft Brown Sugar (1kg): Lot 21272 through to Lot 21303

Woolworths brand Raw Sugar (500g, and 1kg): Lot 21274 through to Lot 21281

Woolworths brand Brown Sugar (500g, and 1kg): Lot 21278 through to Lot 21303



The affected products were sold during October and up until 4 November at retail outlets and supermarkets throughout New Zealand.

More information, including specific batch details, is on our recall page. This will be updated if more products are subject to recall.

Recall of various brands of Raw and Brown Sugar

If you have an affected product do not use it, please dispose or return to place of purchase.

"While we consider the risk to be low, we understand people might be worried and as always we suggest that anyone with concerns for their health consult their doctor for advice," Mr Arbuckle says.

The products are sold in paper and plastic packaging of various weights and via the bulk bins (customers fill bags with the sugar) at selected retail outlets.

The products have been sold at retail outlets and supermarkets throughout New Zealand through October to 4 November 2021.

The products have been exported to American Samoa, Cook Islands, Fiji, French Polynesia, New Caledonia.

This recall does not affect any other batches of these brands of sugar or any other sugar products manufactured by Chelsea Sugar.

Chelsea brand Organic Raw Sugar and Raw Caster Sugar is not affected by this recall.

The question is, as this contamination has been in the sugar since early October we have been all eating it in backed goods, bread and coffee, the tests should have been done earlier. 

The Consumer Advice:

Customers are asked to check the batch, date mark, and date of purchase of the products.

If you have purchased these products, do not consume. The immediate food safety risk from these products is considered to be low, however if you have consumed these products and have any concerns about your health, seek medical advice.

Customers should return the products to their retailer for a full refund.


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