Rolkem - the situation explained

this page last updated 12th August 2018 - see under 'Latest News' at bottom of page, including Rolkem's official statement and revised official statement and a joint statement by Cake Stuff and Fabricake, and the FASA notice from the FSA and FSS

We have left each update below exactly as it appeared on the date we posted it - this allows you to see how the story developed as new information was released, and how we updated our customers.  As you will see, as it became clear that we were not always being told the full story (or the complete truth) the updates we received from Rolkem began to contradict earlier information.  By passing on the information we were given at each point in time we left ourselves open to the criticism that we were changing our story - we hope our customers will see that this was never the case.

Each piece of information can clearly be seen below and, crucially, the promises made by Rolkem can also be clearly seen.  When reading Rolkem's statements, updates and replies to our questions, it doesn't take very long to realise just who has been telling the truth and who has been weaving a fairly intricate web of disinformation and confusion. 


There has understandably been a lot of interest and concern over the safety and suitability of Rolkem products following the decision by one stockist to voluntarily recall two colours

Cake Stuff take food safety and the safety of our customers extremely seriously and are happy to explain the situation as we understand it, following involved discussions with our Environmental Health Officer (EHO), Food Standards Scotland (FSS) and Rolkem's CEO, Andries Kemp, who explained to us in detail what has happened

The truth is we're not going to be able to answer every individual question on social media (especially as often the same questions are asked over and over) so all the information is here along with the very straightforward solution that we are happy to offer all our customers (see in pink below)

This page is intended for the use of Cake Stuff customers who have ordered Rolkem products from us.  If you have ordered Rolkem products from another retailer please contact that retailer for advice.  Please understand that our responsibility is to Cake Stuff customers so we cannot offer general advice about Rolkem products ordered from other retailers

Competitors of both Cake Stuff and Rolkem are already making mischief by exaggerating the story - especially those competitors Rolkem declined to accept as stockists(!).  So, let's cut through all the gossip, drama and fake news and focus on what we can do to help . . .

 

 

The Background

Rolkem is one of the world's leading manufacturers of icing colouring, edible lustres and sugarcraft dusts

Rolkem is based in South Africa but export worldwide including to the USA, Canada, Australia and throughout Europe.  Rolkem is a high profile brand, sponsoring several international cake decorating competitions and, although a fairly new brand here in the UK, has been used by top international cake artists for decades.  In other words, they are no fly-by-night manufacturer trying to do something illegal - their reputation is excellent

 

The Problem

The problem really started as one of labelling, due to a problem within Rolkem's own supply chain

Rolkem's supplier of gold (classed as edible and with the European number E175) reported contamination in a batch where powdered brass was included in place of, or as well as, gold.  Whether you call it contamination or a mix up, whether it was accidental or a deliberate ploy to supply Rolkem with a much cheaper ingredient, brass is a metal alloy that includes copper and zinc.  Copper may be present in other lustre colours but in respect to both Gold Super and Rose Gold Super, this means the ingredients labelling is wrong and, therefore, not allowed under EU Regulation EC 1333 / 2008

Why 'brass'?  Gold must be totally pure to be given the classification 'edible' (E175).  Pure gold is 24 karat.  Gold that has a purity level less than 24 karat has had other metals added eg 18k gold is 75% gold with the remainder normally made up of silver or brass.  Brass is an allow made up of zinc and copper, hence the reason lab tests showed traces of copper.  Not that it in any way excuses the situation, but we hope this shows the link between gold and brass / copper is a lot more 'natural' than many customers may realise

Rolkem know the batch that was affected but because they distribute internationally, it has not been easy to identify where the incorrectly labelled pots have ended up, although some have definitely arrived in the UK, Canada and Australia.  At the end of February Rolkem issued a notice to the importers to explain what had happened and importers were instructed to contact all retailers to explain the situation and recall affected stock.  Cake Stuff did not receive any notice from Rolkem or the importers at that time

Rolkem had accounted for over 70% of the batch by 26th February and almost the entire batch by end April

Rolkem have taken action against the supplier in question

 

Affected Products

Of the 250+ Rolkem products we stock, only 2 are affected: Gold Super and Rose Gold Super (sometimes labelled as Special Rose Gold Super)

These 2 colours are sold in 10ml, 20g and 50g pots.  So, to be clear, that's a total of 6 different pots - no other Rolkem colour or product is affected

By looking at the orders we received from Rolkem and knowing the affected batch, we know that only pots sold by us between late January 2018 and early March 2018 can possibly be connected to that batch.  The dates may be different for other stockists but our duty is to Cake Stuff customers so that's why we're concentrating on this batch

 

Is There A Risk To Health?

There is no suggestion of any risk to health, but the ingredients are obviously not as stated on the labels

Powdered brass (an alloy that contains copper and zinc) is sometimes referred to as a 'heavy metal', which has an unfortunate ring to it.  Gold and silver are also a 'heavy metals' but are 100% edible in the purest form (eg 24K gold) - the problem here is that the gold supplied to Rolkem was 18K gold and not the 24K purity required to be classed as edible

Powdered brass is hazardous to aquatic life but can only cause any issues for humans (eg nausea) if consumed in relatively large quantities - these are the symptoms listed by the FSA.  Analysis showed a 'high level of metal' in the samples but as 50% of the pot weight should be gold, there was always going to be a 'high level of metal'.  We are not down-playing the seriousness of incorrect labelling, but at the quantities and levels of concentration found in these 2 products, FSS has concluded there is no risk posed to health

Rolkem have stated that in the FSA analysis of samples provided by Fabricake, they found 0.575g copper in the 50g pot, so 1% of the contents were copper.  In other words, you would need to consume the entire 50g pot in order to ingest 0.575g of copper, which Southend Borough Councils EHO concluded would be unlikely to exceed the NOAEL (No Observed Adverse Effect Level).  So if consuming an entire 50g pot poses no health risk, consuming the tiny quantities associated with dusting or diluting the lustre pose no health risk at all

Even so, our position is that these 2 colours from the affected batch should not be used as edible colouring until new certification is available

 

Action Already Taken

We were not made aware of Rolkem's email of 26th February but as soon as we heard from Environmental Health Officer (EHO) / Food Standards Scotland (FSS) that there was a problem, Cake Stuff immediately withdrew the 2 affected colours from sale - we therefore pre-empted Rolkem's notice.  This also explains why these popular colours appeared to be out of stock for so long!  We had spoken to our EHO and provided samples for analysis.  These tests showed that brass was present in a couple of the samples we provided.  This entire batch is being returned to Rolkem

You may have seen a recall notice posted elsewhere by a respected stockist who has taken the decision to voluntarily recall the products and asked the FSA for advice in how best to do this

There is no mandatory recall notice in place from either FSS nor the FSA

Cake Stuff arranged for samples from a new batch of both colours to be sent to the EHO for testing and we are arranging for yet more samples to be sent to both EHO and FSS so that they can co-ordinate with their colleagues at the FSA

Our solution (see in pink below) is designed to help any customer with any concerns - it's as clear and unambiguous as we can make it

 

Further Action

We completely understand that some customers will be concerned that they may have received a pot from the affected batch.  It's highly unlikely, but it is possible

Why 'unlikely'?  Firstly, because we removed these 2 colours from sale immediately, even before Rolkem knew about the issue.  Secondly, brass is not as bright as gold and a difference in colour would be obvious, especially to regular users.  Thirdly, as of today's date we have not received one single report from any customer to say that their Gold Super or Rose Gold Super seemed any different from normal . . . not one!

Again, we stress that we're talking about one batch only.  Samples from new batches of both colours have been forwarded to FSS for re-testing

 

The Solution

If you ordered a pot of Rolkem Gold Super or Rose Gold Super from Cake Stuff between January 2018 and early March 2018 and feel that it looks or performs differently to previous pots or if you are simply concerned about the situation then we are happy to help

Cake Stuff are offering the simplest, most unambiguous guarantee we can think of... simply return the pot (even if you've used some) along with your order number to us at:

Cake Stuff, ROLKEM, Milton Ind Estate, Lesmahagow, ML11 0JN

We will credit your Cake Stuff account with the price you paid

Don't forget to quote your order number as this is not a product recall, but simply some additional peace of mind for Cake Stuff customers

For customers outside the UK, we advise checking with your own regulatory authority before going to the expense of returning products (eg in the USA check with the FDA for their advice).  We are retailers and do not supply Rolkem products to re-sellers; if you have bought Rolkem products from Cake Stuff in order to re-sell them then you must contact Rolkem direct as they can advise their policy on unofficial Rolkem stockists

 

Food Safety in the UK

In the UK the Food Standards Agency (FSA) is responsible for food safety, but we also have Food Standards Scotland (FSS) who, although independent of the FSA, work closely with them.  Because Cake Stuff are based in Scotland, it's not the first time that we've acted on FSS advice only to find it slightly out-of-line (often a matter of timing) with FSA advice for the rest of the UK

 

Other Rolkem Stockists

We respect the decisions taken by other Rolkem stockists, including those who have voluntarily recalled products and are happy to work with them and share information with them

There is, however, one further problem . . . those companies who Rolkem declined to accept as stockists.  Those who are jealous because they cannot stock Rolkem and those who sell 'grey imports' of Rolkem products in the UK.  These 'grey imports' are sourced from overseas Rolkem distributors (often in Australia) and sold illegally into the UK as they do not have the required EU labelling (see more below)

The companies selling these Rolkem products are not official Rolkem stockists and will not be able to return any affected pots to Rolkem so are down-playing this situation, making it more difficult for customers to get reliable information.  These companies tend to sell mainly on eBay and Amazon

We're making no other comment but we want to make customers aware that while Cake Stuff, Fabricake and other reputable stockists are working hard to do the right thing in taking the action we all feel is correct, some others will plead ignorance and continue to sell affected products.  We would urge customers to only order from official Rolkem stockists

 

E numbers

An E number means that a food additive has passed after tests and is approved for use here in the UK and in the the rest of the EU.  The 'E' simply stands for 'Europe'.  This system is regulated by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).

E numbers are not 'bad for you' as the media often implies and the myth that they 'should be avoided' simply confuses an otherwise straightforward situation.  E numbers exist to show that the additive is safe - some are artificial (ie they have been manufactured) and some are naturally occurring substances, so even additives like vinegar, natural gums and even the gold in Rolkem Gold Super all have E numbers

All edible products imported into the EU must have labels that list ingredients in the approved format for EU countries and must show E numbers

 

Keeping You Informed

We will, of course, continue to update this page as any information changes.  We will also let you know the latest news via our email newsletters but as new GDPR rules come into force this month, please make sure you have updated your preferences in order to continue receiving newsletters.  Click here to find out more

 

Latest News

Rolkem realise they need to re-establish customer confidence in their products so have announced that they are having the 2 affected products independently tested and the results passed to the FSA for re-certification.  They want to show beyond any doubt that the problem has been rectified, that the issue was a one-off and that the products are correct again

In the meantime, Andries (Rolkem's CEO) has stated that they don't want to sell these 2 colours as 'edible' in the UK until the FSA confirm re-certification

Although it appears that we can legally continue sell these 2 colours from Scotland (and continue to ship worldwide), we feel that could be seen to be putting us at odds with the FSA and we really don't want to do anything that looks as if we are disrespecting their position or that of other official Rolkem stockists

Cake Stuff has therefore decided to sell any remaining stocks as 'food contact (non toxic)' until the FSA complete their own certification process to bring them in line with FSS.  That way Cake Stuff cannot be seen to be ignoring FSA advice or to be taking unfair advantage over other UK official stockists.  We hope that makes sense

 

Rolkem Official Statement

received 12:23pm 14th May 2018.  Cake Stuff comments are in pink and do not form part of the official statement


Official Statement
by Andries Kemp CEO of RKSA Group of Companies on behalf of ROLKEM
on 14 May 2018
RE: ROLKEM Super Gold and ROLKEM Super Rose Gold:


On 25 February 2018 it came to our attention that a contaminated batch of ingredients has made its way into the manufacturing plant. (It was Cake Stuff who alerted Rolkem to this situation following analysis of samples by Food Standards Scotland)  This batch of ingredients contained amounts of brass. As you are aware, Brass consists of a Copper Zinc blend. 


ON 26 February 2018, a Notice was send out to our customers and distributors whom might have received the finished product that contains this ingredient.
(Cake Stuff did not receive any such notice from the UK importers but we were already aware of the situation following analysis of samples by Food Standards Scotland, and we had already removed these products from sale) We also forwarded a copy of this notice to the FSA to make them aware that we are handling the product recall of the affected batches.


The requests per the notice was as follows:
•    Remove the products mentioned from sale, on all pack sizes
•    Remove the product from the on-line websites.
•    Mark, pack and arrange pickup with ROLKEM of any such products that might be left in stock.
•    Request customers to return the products purchased, to enable a swop-out of the products that might have been affected.  We also suggested a competition like swop out to reach more people.
•    71.4% of the affected products where accounted for on 26 February 2018.  We are receiving product back daily. And should have all the affected product accounted for soonest.


For your information:
The only countries affected by these products was Canada, The UK, and Australia.  The distribution of the affected products, in Australia has been contained completely.
•    Please note that it is not all batches that has been affected, but only a specific batch of products.
•    We are in possession of one of the UK Local environmental health organisations certificates, whom cleared the products as safe for consumption during 2017.  (This should be proof that it is not all batches of the products that was affected.)
•    85 different ROLKEM products was tested by different UK environmental health institutions and was found to be safe.  A few label adjustment was suggested by them.
•    All orders since 25 February 2018 have been scrutinised, and we ensured that none of the products shipped since then, has been in contact with the affected products.

  • After testing the affected products, it was found that the quantities being consumed of the affected products during normal use in the Cake Decorating industry, shall not harm any human being.


The Product Recall
•    This product recall is a voluntary recall done by Fabricake Sugarcraft.  The documentation in ROLKEM’s possession shows that a faulty batch of ROLKEM Special Rose Gold was tested by the South-End on Sea Borrow Council. The FSA did not recall the product. We have only received documents pertaining to the ROLKEM Special Rose Gold, and none pertaining to the ROLKEM Super Gold.
The quantification of the affected product:
•    The documents received by ROLKEM from Fabricake late Thursday afternoon state that it is only a certain batch that contained 0.575 gram of copper in the 50 gram container (that is 1% of the total product that contained copper.)  During normal cake decorating use the standard amount of total colouring used when painting or blushing is less than 3 gram on a cake. (We agree that no copper is allowed, and that is the reason why ROLKEM requested a withdrawal of the affected batch from the distributors whom has received the product on 26 February 2018.)
•    As stated on the document received from the South-End on Sea Borrow Council, the following:
•    “In my opinion the quantity of this colouring matter likely to be ingested is less than 1g and therefore unlikely to exceed the NOAEL (no observed adverse effect)”


An issue in labelling
Although all batches of products are thoroughly tested prior to dispatch, during a manufacturing production process a key ingredient in the formula had bypassed our internal checks/quality controls. This issue had been brought to our attention at the end of February. By then several imports had been taken place in UK, Australia & Canada. (Please also refer to the statement by Cake Stuff and Bake Group Australia)
The problem is really one of labelling, due to a problem within Rolkem's own supply chain
The supplier of our Nano-gold Particles (classed as edible and with the European number E175) reported contamination in a batch where powdered brass and copper was included in place of or as well as gold. This means the ingredients labelling is wrong and, therefore, not allowed under EU Regulation EC 1333 / 2008
?
Are there any other products that have been affected?
No!  From our catalogue of 450+ products, only the above 2 stated products have been affected. No other products have been affected.


What do I do if I’ve received a pot from the affected batch?
If you've received a pot from the affected batch, please contact your supplier who will replace the product with a correct batch

(Cake Stuff have made a wider offer to help reassure our customers - if any customer is concerned about these Rolkem products ordered from Cake Stuff, they are welcome to return them to us for a full credit - see 'The Solution' section above for full details)


When will these colours be on sale again in the UK?
•    ROLKEM Super Gold will change to ROLKEM Brilliant Gold
•    ROLKEM Super Rose Gold will change to ROLKEM Brilliant Rose Gold
•    Both the ROLKEM Brilliant Gold and ROLKEM Brilliant Rose Gold will be available for sale in the UK within 4 weeks


When will these be re-certified?
•    We have appointed an external internationally accredited laboratory to test all the different ROLKEM colours, ROLKEM Brilliant Rose Gold and ROLKEM Brilliant Gold being priority. Unfortunately, this is a timeous process and it would be much appreciated if it would be possible for you to assist us in this regard.


Some of the Authorised Sellers in the United Kingdom:
1.) Cake Craft Company (www.cakecraftcompany.com)
2.) Cake-Stuff (www.cake-stuff.co.uk)
3.) Fabricake (www.fabricake.co.uk)
4.) The Cake Decorating Shop (www.thecakedecoratingshop.co.uk)


We completely understand if you are concerned about this issue and would like to talk to someone about this so please feel free to call our help line on the number: + 27 14 743 3111 and speak to Andries, Adinda or Heindrich.


Will this happen again?
No absolutely not, and this is a company promise to all our clients. Since the issue we have introduced 3 new internal checking divisions that will ensure all ‘ROLKEM products are processed with even thorough precision which involves state of the art equipment and new processing tools which helps our division move from the old conventional way of providing checks to the new, seamless and efficient 'new generation' method of acquiring accurate internal data which will ensure no batches to be affected during the manufacturing process.


Is there any risk to my health?
NO! As stated in the analyses report from the accredited laboratory testing on behalf of the South-End Burrow Council: “In my opinion the quantity of this colouring matter likely to be ingested is less than 1g and therefore unlikely to exceed the NOAEL (no observed adverse effect)

In the UK we work alongside the FSA (Food Standard Agencies). There is absolutely no immediate effect to your health for it only gets consumed in small quantities as we all only use it for craft purposes.
?
Updates
Constant updates will be posted regularly on Facebook - keeping you informed and updated. Dates of the new batches of Rolkem Super Gold and the Special Blend Rose Gold will also be announced in the coming weeks.
We trust that you shall find the above informative, with peace of mind.


Should you have any queries pertaining to this, please do not hesitate to contact me on any of the following:  Andries.kemp@rolkem.co.za or mobile number +27825511645


Kind regards and happy decorating

Andries Kemp
Chief Executive Officer
RKSA Group of Companies
For ROLKEM

 

Rolkem Revised Official Statement

received 10:19am 17th May 2018.  Cake Stuff comments are in pink and do not form part of the revised official statement


Official Statement
by Andries Kemp CEO of RKSA Group of Companies on behalf of ROLKEM
on 14 May 2018
(received by email 10:19am 17th May 2018)

RE: ROLKEM Super Gold and ROLKEM Super Rose Gold:


On 25 February 2018 it came to our attention that a contaminated batch of ingredi-ents has made its way into the manufacturing plant.  This batch of ingredients con-tained amounts of brass.
(It was Cake Stuff who alerted Rolkem to this situation following analysis of samples by Food Standards Scotland)

As you are aware, Brass consists of a Copper Zinc blend. 24 Karat Gold is made up from pure gold and is then scaled down with Brass to lower the Karat “value”. for gold to be classified as edible, it must be 24 Karat pure Gold.  Unfor-tunately, one of these none pure batches off a lower gold value was delivered to the ROLKEM Manufacturing plant, thus causing the whole contamination.


ON 26 February 2018, a Notice was send out to our customers and distributors whom might have received the finished product that contains this ingredient. 
(Cake Stuff did not receive any such notice from the UK importers but we were already aware of the situation following analysis of samples by Food Standards Scotland, and we had already removed these products from sale) We also for-warded a copy of this notice to the FSA to make them aware that we are handling the product recall of the affected batches.


The requests per the notice was as follows:
•    Remove the products mentioned from sale, on all pack sizes
•    Remove the product from the on-line websites.
•    Mark, pack and arrange pickup with ROLKEM of any such products that might be left in stock.
•    Request customers to return the products purchased, to enable a swop-out of the products that might have been affected.  We also suggested a competition like swop out to reach more people.
•    71.4% of the affected products where accounted for on 26 February 2018.  We are receiving product back daily. And should have all the affected product ac-counted for soonest.


For your information:
The only countries affected by these products was Canada, The UK, and Australia.  The distribution of the affected products, in Australia has been contained completely.
•    Please note that it is not all batches that has been affected, but only a specific batch of products.
•    We are in possession of one of the UK Local environmental health organisations certificates, whom cleared the products as safe for consumption during 2017.  (This should be proof that it is not all batches of the products that was affected.)
•    85 different ROLKEM products was tested by different UK environmental health institutions and was found to be safe.  A few label adjustment was suggested by them.
•    All orders since 25 February 2018 have been scrutinised, and we ensured that none of the products shipped since then, has been in contact with the affected products.
•    After testing the affected products, it was found that the quantities being con-sumed of the affected products during normal use in the Cake Decorating indus-try, shall not harm any human being.


The quantification of the affected product:
•    Test Documents was received from both the South Lanarkshire Council as well as the Southend on Sea Borough Council.
•    The documents received of the test results showed that the contamination amounted to 0.575 gram of copper in the 50gram container (that is 1% of the to-tal product that contained copper.) on the Rose Gold.  During normal cake deco-rating use the standard amount of total colouring used when painting or blush-ing is less than 3gram on a cake. (We agree that no copper is allowed, and that is the reason why ROLKEM requested a withdrawal of the affected batch from the distributors whom has received the product on 26 February 2018.)
•    As stated on the document received from the Southend on Sea Borough Council, the following:
“In my opinion the quantity of this colouring matter likely to be in-gested is less than 1g and therefore unlikely to exceed the NOAEL (no observed adverse effect) High accouter levels of oral copper can cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea but the level likely to be consumed is in y opinion unlikely to give rise to these effects.”


An issue in labelling
Although all batches of products are thoroughly tested prior to dispatch, during a man-ufacturing production process a key ingredient in the formula had bypassed our internal checks/quality controls. This issue had been brought to our attention at the end of Feb-ruary. By then several imports had been taken place in UK, Australia & Canada. (Please also refer to the statement by Cake Stuff and Bake Group Australia, and Fabricake)


The problem is really one of labelling, due to a problem within Rolkem's own supply chain


The supplier of our Nano-gold Particles (classed as edible and with the European number E175) reported contamination in a batch where powdered brass and copper was included in place of or as well as gold. This means the ingredients labelling is wrong and, therefore, not allowed under EU Regulation EC 1333 / 2008
?
Batch numbers:
Due to the above-mentioned labelling issues, we immediately addressed the batch number issue as well, and all products now released will have the batch number as a small separate label on the product.  The numbering convention that we use for the batch number as follows: XXXXXddmmyy - Where XXXXX will represent the generic product code adding the manufacturing date to the code.  This will have a two-way con-trol as well on the Best Before date of the product.


Are there any other products that have been affected?
No!  From our catalogue of 450+ products, only the above 2 stated products have been affected. No other products have been affected.


What do I do if I’ve received a pot from the affected batch?
If you've received a pot from the affected batch, please contact your supplier who will replace the product with a correct batch

(Cake Stuff have made a wider offer to help reassure our customers - if any customer is concerned about these Rolkem products ordered from Cake Stuff, they are welcome to return them to us for a full credit - see 'The Solution' section above for full details)


When will these be re-certified?
•    We have appointed an external internationally accredited laboratory to test all the dif-ferent ROLKEM colours. Unfortunately, this is a timeous process. As soon as the final test results are received from an internationally accredited laboratory it shall be pub-lished.
Some of the Authorised Sellers in the United Kingdom:
1.) Cake Craft Company (www.cakecraftcompany.com)
2.) Cake-Stuff (www.cake-stuff.co.uk)
3.) Fabricake (www.fabricake.co.uk)
4.) The Cake Decorating Shop (www.thecakedecoratingshop.co.uk)


We completely understand if you are concerned about this issue and would like to talk to someone about this so please feel free to call our help line on the number: + 27 14 743 3111 and speak to Andries, Adinda or Heindrich.


Will this happen again?
No absolutely not, and this is a company promise to all our clients. Since the issue we have introduced 3 new internal checking divisions that will ensure all ‘ROLKEM products are processed with even thorough precision which involves state of the art equipment and new processing tools which helps our division move from the old conventional way of providing checks to the new, seamless and efficient 'new generation' method of ac-quiring accurate internal data which will ensure no batches to be affected during the manufacturing process.


Is there any risk to my health?
NO! As stated in the analyses report from the accredited laboratory testing on behalf of the Southend Burrough Council: “In my opinion the quantity of this colouring matter likely to be ingested is less than 1g and therefore unlikely to exceed the NOAEL (no observed adverse effect) High accouter levels of oral copper can cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea but the level likely to be consumed is in y opinion unlikely to give rise to these effects.”


In the UK we work alongside the FSA (Food Standard Agencies). There is absolutely no immediate effect to your health for it only gets consumed in small quantities as we all only use it for Cake Decorating purposes.


The certificates
We as ROLKEM would like to keep all of the valuable customers informed.  You have the right to the information in the event that your health may be affected.  We have been requested to keep this documentation confidential. The test certificates are confi-dential, but can be requested for your own perusal, not for distribution of publication at the following e-mail address: certificates@rolkem.co.za


Updates
Constant updates will be posted regularly on Facebook - keeping you informed and up-dated. Dates of the new batches of Rolkem Super Gold and the Special Blend Rose Gold will also be announced in the coming weeks.
We trust that you shall find the above informative, with peace of mind.
Should you have any queries pertaining to this, please do not hesitate to contact me on any of the following:  Andries.kemp@rolkem.co.za or mobile number +27825511645

Kind regards and happy decorating

Andries Kemp
Chief Executive Officer
RKSA Group of Companies
For ROLKEM


25th May 2018

A Joint Statement by Fabricake Ltd and Cake Stuff Ltd – 25th May 2018

Rolkem

Over the past few weeks, information has come to light concerning various Rolkem products. Working with Rolkem, Food Standards Scotland (FSS) and the Food Standards Agency (FSA), both Fabricake and Cake Stuff have been trying to keep our customers fully informed with the latest developments.

It is not our intention to go through over every step of these events yet again as fuller information is available on our websites and Facebook pages. Both companies have email records that substantiate everything stated there and in this statement. Please understand that we cannot enter into more discussion in response to this post – it is quite simply a statement of our joint position.

Laboratory testing of certain samples of Rolkem products indicated the presence of copper and other ingredients not listed as ingredients on the labels. This affected Gold Super and Special Rose Gold.

We made Rolkem aware of these finding and they investigated what they regarded was a labelling issue. Rolkem then claimed that their supplier Anglo Gold Ashanti (the gold mining company that supplies Rolkem with gold) had supplied a batch where the purity of gold was lower than required by Rolkem. Rolkem use 24K gold, which is why it is classed as edible (E175) in the EU, but Anglo Gold Ashanti supplied a lower karat (a lower purity) of gold. Lower karats of gold normally contain silver and brass, as well as the gold. The lower karat gold supplied therefore contained powdered brass, which is an alloy comprising copper and zinc, hence the discovery of copper by the laboratory tests.

Rolkem stated that they could identify the batch affected and that they were able to account for over 70% of this batch by the end of February. Rolkem claim that they issued a recall by email to importers and customers in the UK, Canada and Australia at the end of February. Fabricake received notification of an investigation by Rolkem, but not of a recall. With assurances from Rolkem that all batches had been accounted for and removed from orders being processed, Fabricake removed affected products from sale immediately. Fabricake made it clear to Rolkem that it was the brand’s responsibility to make any stockists aware of this situation and they couldn't be selective with revealing this information to retailers. Cake Stuff did not receive any such emails from Rolkem.

Fabricake and Cake Stuff communicated with each other, withdrew any potentially affected stock from sale and updated customers based on the information supplied by Rolkem at that time.  Cake Stuff were able to identify one delivery from Rolkem that could have included stock from the affected batch, so advised customers to return any Gold Super and (Special) Rose Gold Super ordered between January and early March 2018. At no time did FSS or the FSA suggest a product recall to Cake Stuff.

Fabricake received different warnings from the FSA and issued a mandatory recall of the two colours that were potentially affected to ensure customer safety. Rolkem have since amended their position and the FSA are advising that “all batches, all sizes and all dates should be recalled”. Rolkem have presented the recall by Fabricake as being voluntary and as only affecting one batch between certain dates. Fabricake have always maintained the recall was at the insistence of the FSA, so the advice presented by Fabricake and Cake Stuff seemed to be at odds with each other. This was by no means intentional and it has become clear that Rolkem knowingly provided incorrect information to each party, using the subsequent confusion to their own advantage as they attempted to limit the damage.

One of the responsibilities of being a good stockist is to support the manufacturer. This can leave the stockist vulnerable to criticism and attack by competitor retailers, competitor brands and on social media. Trust is essential in such circumstances as the stockist is totally reliant on the information being supplied by the manufacturer.  It has become clear to both Fabricake and Cake Stuff that Rolkem fell far short of the standards expected from an international brand in such serious circumstances.

Rolkem provided contradictory information, failed to reply to countless emails, told stockists different versions of events and even their official statement was amended after publication. Andries Kemp (CEO of Rolkem) flew from South Africa to the UK to meet with the FSA but, at the last minute, the FSA withdrew the invitation for Fabricake to be present at that meeting. The meeting took place on 17th May 2018 at 14:30. The FSA have advised that during meeting Rolkem were informed that the product recall applied to all batches, all dates and all sizes. During the meeting Rolkem promised to work with their importers and stockists to resolve this situation but, to date, we have had no information or support from Rolkem to support this feedback.

Rolkem’s official statement remains in place and there have been no amendments or updates regarding the FSA’s instructions.  It very much appears that Rolkem were willing to say whatever was necessary to appease the FSA but, to date at least, have not followed through on those assurances.

Cake Stuff asked Rolkem to answer 6 simple questions - these are listed below. Some of these questions were originally posed by Cake Stuff customers and forwarded to Rolkem a year ago. Rolkem replied on 23rd May and their answers are highlighted in red below. The answers remain somewhat vague and contradictory but one important fact to come out of them is that Rolkem are having all their products analysed and tested by the UKAS accredited laboratory Salamon & Seaber

Further, Rolkem have agreed to publish the results of these tests on the Rolkem website so that stockists and customers can have easy access to this important information. We understand that representatives from Rolkem are flying back to the UK in June to meet with Salamon & Seaber, a UK based labelling specialist and the FSA.  Fabricake and Cake Stuff both look forward to Rolkem doing everything they have promised within that agreed timescale so that we can further update customers.

As retailers, Fabricake and Cake Stuff have a responsibility to our own customers and could be prosecuted by our own local authorities (Southend Borough and South Lanarkshire Councils) should we sell products that have been identified as illegal or potentially hazardous to public health. These same local authorities do not, however, have the jurisdiction to take action against the manufacturer based in South Africa. Isn’t that convenient? After multiple instances of feedback to the FSA, they continue to tell us to simply direct our enquiries to Rolkem, which we feel is a completely inadequate response from a UK government agency.

When manufacturers provide Certificates of Conformity and results of lab testing, when they are a very well-known international brand, when their brand name is seen in every cake decorating magazine, at every major exhibition and used by many of the world’s top cake artists, it is reasonable for retailers to trust in that brand and in that manufacturer. Throughout this difficult period, Fabricake and Cake Stuff have trusted the information supplied by Rolkem implicitly and have asked our customers to trust it too.  We apologise to our customers that this trust has been broken by Rolkem.

As the situation has developed and as we have been able to investigate further, it now seems clear that Rolkem have been economical with the truth, the official story has changed several times and the trust of UK stockists has been abused.

It is with great disappointment that Fabricake and Cake Stuff have reached the point where making a joint statement seemed the only course of action open to us. We share the same responsibility to provide our customers with only the best products and service. We have decided to clear stocks of all remaining Rolkem at 50% off our normal selling prices until such times as Rolkem can provide the analysis results and new certificates at some point in June. Our customers are experienced enough cake decorators to decide for themselves how these products are to be used in the meantime.

No brand that treats its customers with contempt can expect their continued support or loyalty.  Rolkem are therefore ‘on notice’ to keep to the promises they have now made: to have all 450 products tested by Salamon & Seaber, for those test results to be available to customers via the Rolkem website, for all Rolkem products now being exported to the UK to have correct labelling and correct ingredients, for everything to have Certificates of Conformity and to be FSA and FSS approved.

If Rolkem keep to their word then everyone may be able to move on from this unfortunate situation.  If Rolkem are unable or unwilling to do everything they have promised, then our customers will judge them on that, all credibility will be lost and Fabricake and Cake Stuff will end our association with the Rolkem brand.

Other retailers have remained conspicuously silent throughout all of this, pretending to know nothing about the problem and grabbing the opportunity to sell those Rolkem products that Fabricake and Cake Stuff are temporarily not stocking. Fabricake and Cake Stuff have put customer safety and loyalty above profits and have worked tirelessly with Environmental Health, Food Standards Scotland and the Food Standards Agency to provide as much information as we possibly can. Although we realise our customers will be disappointed in the situation and in Rolkem especially, we can only hope that you will see that we have acted with integrity and transparency throughout. We wish to thank you for your continued support.

published by Fabricake Ltd & Cake Stuff Ltd

25th May 2018

The 6 questions asked of Rolkem referred to above are as follows. Rolkem’s answers are in red.

1.FSS are unconvinced with the assurances that Rolkem will provide lab results for analyses of all products.  Please can you confirm (a) which lab is being used and (b) that they are UKAS accredited?
“a) We are in talks with Salamon & Seaber Consulting and analytical chemists to employ their services as to test all ROLKEM products for UKAS compliance as well as to provide us with the relevant documents (MSDS forms and COC’s)
b) Salamon & Seaber Consulting and analytical chemists has been UKAS accredited since 1993. Please feel free to visit their website at http://www.salamonandseaber.co.uk/accreditation.html#ukas for more information on their accreditation.”

2. Will there be a way (via your website, for example) for stockists and customers to access these results?  We feel this is now necessary if we are to reassure UK customers that Rolkem products are safe.  Access to test results and certificates of conformity are essential
“Yes, we will be uploading all relevant documents pertaining to the tests carried out by Salamon & Seaber to our website (www.rolkem.co.za) in due time, as well as e-mail the documents to yourself and other stockists, additional to this we will also be shipping the hard copy documents to yourself and other stockists.”


3. Super Gold shows only 2 ingredients:  gold E175 and Mica E555.  Labelling regulations require ingredients to be listed in order of greatest first, therefore at least 50% must be gold.  In a 50g pot, that means there is 25g (min) of gold and at today’s values that means a value of over $1,000 (US). This is based on 24k but even at a lower purity, it is obvious that something is far wrong with this scenario.
“This is a labelling problem that we had.  Later Super Gold Labels show the ingredients in the following order: E555, E172, E175.  The base and main product is Mica, that is coated with Iron Oxide, and then the Gold Nano particles was fused to that, under a high temperature. Due to two reasons we are changing the recipe of the new Super Gold, to exclude the Nano Gold Particles. The first reason being that we cannot afford a mistake in Quality and manufacturing by receiving the incorrect (Non 24 Carat) Gold.  Secondly, we are experiencing a lot of pressure from consumers globally to remove all heavy metals, (Nano Gold Particles and Nano Silver particles) from all our ingredients. This shall also resolve the issue to conform to world standards on edibility. We currently have a pending court case between RKSA and Anglo Gold Ashanti,  that supplied RKSA with the lower quality gold containing brass. Because of this case being sub-judice  we can currently not obtain Nano-Gold particles, as we could only receive a license from the department of mining to obtain na Gold Particles from them. We shall not launch the New  Super Gold until we are 100% satisfied with the quality and have received sign off from the FSA.”

4. If the Rolkem of version events is true and one batch was contaminated, then everyone should expect the new batch to arrive and be labelled as before.  However, we’re now learning that the new replacement product will have different ingredients and won’t even contain any gold (Mica and Iron Oxide).  You will understand why almost everyone is jumping to the conclusion that the original ingredients listing was simply untrue all along.  Why did you decide to change the ingredients?
“As stated in my previous answer to your question pertaining to the purity of the gold and ingredient listing, being 100% honest we are struggling and this has hit us hard to say the least , we have been forced to change the ingredients because of the impure supply of gold from Anglo Ashanti thus the change in ingredients. We are trying our utmost to correct this and to provide our stockists with the best, as for labelling, we have employed a UK based labelling specialist to provide guidance on our labels to satisfy the UK consumer and stockist.”

5. There is an industry rumour (we were told by another food colouring manufacturer) that Rolkem manufacture for Roxy & Rich.  Is this true?
“ROLKEM does manufacture for other UK based colour distributors.  I am not at liberty to reveal whom we manufacture for, but it is definitely not Roxy & Rich, nor Rainbow Colours.”

6. FSS test results showed unidentified ingredients in Stellar Green Lumo Gel.  They also note that they know of no permitted additive that would result in this level of fluorescence.  Please confirm full ingredients of this product, confirm what specifically causes the fluorescence and provide a certificate of conformity.
 “All of the ROLKEM products will be tested by Salamon & Seaber. Once we receive feedback from the laboratory we will provide you with the full ingredient listing and COC documentation pertaining to “Steller Green Lumo Gel”. The luminescence is obtained by adding Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), through a intricate chemical process.”

 

3rd July 2018 update

Rolkem have emailed to say that they have new certification for colours but the testing has been done in South Africa and not by the UKAS accredited lab Salamon & Seaber in London

This calls into question the assurances given by Rolkem in their replies (see in red above) but we now have to wait until the FSA meet again with Rolkem and decide whether or not they will accept this new certification


UPDATE 10th July 2018


'FAFA' (Food Alert - For Action) notice issued by Food Standards Scotland

The assurances made by Rolkem (see above) that all Rolkem products would be re-tested and new certificates made available for the FSA before the end of June have come to nothing

  • Firstly, Cake Stuff has been in direct communication with Salamon & Seaber - the UKAS accredited laboratory in London that Rolkem stated were carrying out the testing.  Salamon & Seaber have confirmed to us by email that that have not tested any Rolkem products, so we must wonder if Rolkem ever had any intention of having the products re-tested by them
  • Secondly, the new certification that Rolkem promised the FSA has come from a laboratory in South Africa.  There is no evidence to support Rolkem's claim that the testing was independent or to the standard required by the FSA.  For the avoidance of doubt, Cake Stuff are not casting any aspersions on the professionalism of South African labs, but the fact remains that Rolkem promised the FSA that this testing would be done by the UKAS accredited lab Salamon & Seaber
  • Thirdly, Andries Kemp (CEO of Rolkem) was flying to London to meet with the FSA but has now postponed this visit following a hospital visit for a bad back.  Further, Mr Kemp has confirmed to Cake Stuff in emails that the re-testing process was likely to take a considerable length of time, so certificates would not be available for all products within the originally agreed timescale

So, as of today (10th July 2018), Rolkem have failed to have their products tested by a UKAS accredited independent lab, have missed the agreed deadline for re-testing and have postponed their meeting with the FSA.  In response to the complete lack of any positive action by Rolkem, Food Standards Scotland (FSS) have issued a 'Food Alert - For Action' (FAFA) notice - ref FSS-FAFA-01-2018 - which you can open as a PDF here, or at the bottom of this page

We understand from speaking to our friends at Fabricake that the Food Standards Agency (FSA) have issued a similar notice today for the rest of the UK.  FSS and FSA advice should be in-line with each other.  In light of this 'FAFA', Cake Stuff have withdrawn all remaining stocks of Rolkem products from sale with immediate effect

FSS / FSA have not yet confirmed whether the FAFA relates only to Rolkem edible products (the implication is that it does) but Cake Stuff have decided to withdraw all remaining Rolkem products from sale

Over the past few weeks Cake Stuff has been selling off remaining Rolkem stocks at 50% less than normal price, with a warning message on every product page linking to this information page.  We have tried to keep our customers as informed as possible as the situation has developed

This is not a recall notice, but any customer who has bought a Rolkem product from Cake Stuff and now wishes to return it is perfectly welcome to do so.  Here is the same offer we made months ago:

Cake Stuff are offering the simplest, most unambiguous guarantee we can think of... simply return the pot (even if you've used some) along with your order number to us at:

Cake Stuff, ROLKEM, Milton Ind Estate, Lesmahagow, ML11 0JN

We will credit your Cake Stuff account with the price you paid.  Don't forget to quote your order number as this is not a product recall, but simply some additional peace of mind for Cake Stuff customers


A word about the 'time line' of information above . . . Cake Stuff have not edited any of the information above - we have left it so that customers can see exactly how the situation developed and what we said each time new information came to light as time passed, even if new information contradicted what we all had been told originally 

We are disgusted that Rolkem, an international brand with a massive reputation, has acted so disingenuously and unprofessionally throughout.  In over 30 years of working in the cake decorating industry, we have never come across a situation like this before.  As far as Cake Stuff are concerned, Rolkem has no credibility left.  Doubtless, some less reputable retailers will continue to sell the brand but word of their deceit has already spread throughout Europe and to Australia and the USA, where the brand is massive

Going right back to the start of this story: Cake Stuff accepted Rolkem's explanations for how a lower purity gold was used in some lustre dusts, resulting in traces of copper being found (this is all explained in detail above).  However, we feel that our trust was betrayed and that we have been fed more and more lies, as have other stockists and as have the FSA

 

LATEST UPDATE 12th August 2018

New certificates are arriving from Rolkem by email every few days.  This new certification shows test results from a lab in South Africa.  The problem we now have is two-fold:

  1. because of everything that has happened to date, we simply cannot accept anything at face value. We are having independent testing of more Rolkem products is taking place in the UK by UKAS-accredited laboratory so that their analyses can be compared to the official certificates supplied by Rolkem
  2. Rolkem agreed with the FSA that all of this testing would be carried out by a UKAS-accredited lab - in fact this was a basic demand of the FSA.  Because Rolkem have failed to do this, it appears extremely unlikely that the FSA will accept this new certification from Rolkem, even if the test results do turn out to be correct

As of August 2018 the 'FAFA' notice remains in force, prohibiting the sale or use of any Rolkem product within the UK.  We note that at least one other Rolkem stockist has begun selling the products again (taking Rolkem's new certification as the green light to do so) but this position is incorrect as it requires the FSA to lift the FAFA notice before anyone can sell Rolkem products again.  For the reasons explained above, we very much doubt that Rolkem products will be legal again in the UK any time soon.

 

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