Scots MEP Alyn Smith has intervened in the Canadian ban on Irn Bru with a call for a retaliatory EU ban on Justin Bieber and Celine Dion until the Canadian authorities see reason.
The move follows one retailer in the Province of Saskatchewan having his stock of Irn Bru confiscated and told he could no longer import the product into the country.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) objected to the sale of the product on the basis it contains an additive – Ponceau 4R – which has been linked to hyperactivity. However, Irn Bru already announced it was phasing out use of the additive and it has been deemed ‘safe’ by both the Food Standards Agency here in Scotland and by the European Food Standards Agency last year.
The MEP has written to the CFIA to bring them up to date with the best science on the additive, and also to EU Trade Commissioner Karel de Gucht as the EU represents Scotland in trade matters.
SNP MEP Alyn Smith said:
“I love Canada, half of them are Scots and I've always felt very at home there. This appears to be something of a misunderstanding and I’m confident the EU will get this sorted out for us quickly.
“The retailer who has had his stock confiscated has been selling Irn Bru without a problem since 1997. It’s odd that they would suddenly object to the selling of our other national drink, despite no warnings being issued to sellers of Irn Bru and other items containing the additive.
“The supposedly offensive additive – which the Scottish and European Food Safety Agencies have signed off as safe for sale – is in the process of being phased out by the makers of Irn Bru regardless. I have written to the Canadians to make them aware of the best science and urged the Trade Commissioner to get on this as well.
“Scotland and Canada have strong cultural and historical links, I’m sure many ex-pats across the pond will be worried about how to get their daily fix of the bru if this supposed ban remains. I think if it does, we need to look into banning Justin Bieber and Celine Dion here in Europe – between them they've produced more sugary schmaltz than Irn Bru ever has!
“I will continue to monitor the situation closely and will make representation to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency if necessary, showing that Irn Bru is indeed safe.”