McDonald’s back-pedals over Sudan 1 apology

McDonald’s has decided against issuing an apology to customers over the Sudan 1 contamination scare after it decided that the public was “reassured and satisfied by the swift action” that the fast-food chain took to withdraw a salad dressing that contained the carcinogenic dye.

McDonald’s told Marketing Week last month that it was considering apologising about the crisis after it was forced to withdraw a low-fat Caesar salad dressing because it contained Sudan 1. It had been selling the affected product from January 17.

The company believes that its customers understand it was an issue that affected the whole food industry rather than just McDonald’s and has decided to take no further action on the matter. A spokeswoman said at the time that it was affected in such a small way compared with other companies that it did not expect there to be a trust issue with its customers.

McDonald’s is the only company known to have considered apologising to its customers despite about 618 products being affected across around 55 brands. The affects of the scare were also felt by brands that did not have contaminated products such as HP Foods-owned Lea & Perrins.

It was feared sales of its own Lea & Perrins brand might be affected, rather than just the Premier Food-owned brand Crosse & Blackwell, because consumers would assume all Worcestershire sauces contained the ingredient. It was forced to launch a campaign to reassure consumers that the brand was safe to eat (MW February 24).

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here