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Majestic pulls Chablis over health fears

Majestic has recalled and pulled from sale about 3,000 bottles of Chablis after a health scare involving elevated sulphite levels.

‘Investigating’…Jean Bourguignon

Tests indicated higher than permitted levels of sulphites in a batch of Chablis Jean Bourguignon 2011 after a customer returned a bottle to the company, complaining that it smelled and tasted ‘unpleasant’.

Majestic – which has 176 branches in the UK and three in France – has now withdrawn remaining bottles of the batch from sale and contacted customers who bought the wine, asking them to return any bottles from the affected lot – labelled on its yellow screwcap collar as LA64526.

In a letter to customers, the company said: ‘A very small percentage of bottles have been identified when tested as containing elevated levels of sulphites, which could pose a health risk for certain people, including asthmatics and those with allergies.

‘As a precautionary measure, we have decided to instigate a recall of the batch affected.’

A Food Standards Agency spokesman said the Chablis was labelled as ‘containing sulphites’, but added that the levels found were high enough to cause a stomach upset.

A spokesperson for Majestic said it was likely only an ‘extremely small quantity’ of bottles within the batch was affected by the high sulphite levels, and no other Jean Bourguignon wines sold by the company were involved.

It has not been possible to contact Jean Bourguignon but Majestic said the company had never experienced the issue before, adding that the supplier of the wine was now conducting an investigation.

The spokesperson added: ‘At Majestic, the vast majority of sales go through our customer transactional database.

‘We therefore have the names and addresses of nearly all customers who have recently purchased this product, and have sent them a letter and email to inform them of the issue.’

The Food Standards Agency advised consumers not to drink the wine, but to return the bottle to their nearest Majestic store for a refund or replacement, or to contact Majestic on 0845 605 6767 to arrange collection.

Under European Union law, any wine containing more than 10mg/litre of sulphur dioxide – commonly used by winemakers as a preservative – must be labelled as ‘containing sulphites’, with the legal limit for white wines set at 210mg/litre.

Written by Richard Woodard

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