On 24 March 2022, Food Standards Scotland (FSS) and the Food Standards Agency (FSA) published a joint rapid risk assessment, advising consumers that some food products labelled as containing sunflower oil may instead contain refined rapeseed oil. This is happening to maintain the supply of certain food products containing ingredients that have become increasingly difficult to source because of the conflict in Ukraine.
The majority of the UK’s sunflower oil comes from Ukraine, with Russia making up a substantial portion of the rest. Food businesses are reporting that UK supplies of sunflower oil are likely to run out in a few weeks, with some businesses already experiencing severe difficulties.
This situation has led to some food manufacturers urgently replacing sunflower oil with refined rapeseed oil before being able to make the change on the label. FSS and the FSA advising that food products labelled as containing sunflower oil may instead have been produced using refined rapeseed oil, and consumers should look out for additional information being provided by retailers and manufacturers.
The FSA and FSS are working across government and the food industry in order to understand the challenges and ensure food supply is maintained in a way that is safe and in the interests of consumers.
Sources: FSS, 24 March 2022 and FSA, 24 March 2022