As many in the Cake Industry are already aware, following the official recall of the Rolkem Super Gold and Special Rose Gold range.
Fabricake Sugarcraft Ltd made a joint statement made with Cake Stuff on the 25th of May 2018, allowing the brand room to provide the UK customer base with certification of the product. This deadline was strictly set for the end of June.
Since then we received the following notice from the FSA
'Following recent efforts to contact the FBO, to which we have received no satisfactory response, we have taken the decision to issue this Food Alert for Action for the full Rolkem food range'
More advice can be found directly on the Food Standards Agency website HERE
A lot of time and effort has been invested in this issue; by ourselves and other resellers, the FSA and by you as customers. Issues like this don't just damage the brand, it potentially undermines faith and trust in the industry. Something that takes years to build. Between customers and their cake makers, cake makers and their suppliers and the suppliers and manufacturers in general.
FSA Advice to Consumers
If you have bought any of the products, do not use or consume them or use them in products for consumption by others. Although the products are unlikely to be consumed in such levels as to cause any serious risk to health. There are concerns that products contain high levels of heavy metals, contain unapproved non-food pigments and /or other unapproved ingredients.
1. Do I have to return any Rolkem Products I have?
No this is a withdrawal from sale notice, not a product recall.
2. Can I use the product on Cake Dummies?
The FSA advises that the products are not to be used on any item which will be consumed.
3. I sent out a cake with Rolkem Dust on, will it be dangerous?
These products are unlikely to be consumed in such levels as to cause any serious risk to health.
4. I have further questions, who can I contact?
Any further questions regarding this matter can be directed directly to
5. I have purchased Rolkem products from yourselves, do I now have to return them?
No, this is a 'Withdrawal From Sale', not a 'Product Recall'. Products do not need to be returned to us. If you have any further concerns they can, of course, be taken up directly with the brand via email@example.com
6. I am a Cake Maker and now I am out of pocket! I'm not happy at all!
We totally understand, here at Fabricake, we are ALL Cake Makers too! so we totally understand why everyone is so disappointed. We feel just as let down by the brand as you. We just want to point out that this is at minimum a Nationwide issue, potentially a Global scale issue which has fooled everyone for years of trading, we are trying our best to work with our customers.
7. Can I return the products if I want to?
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 23 rd 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 Nano-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 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.”
Last updated 24th of March 2018. Please see joint statement at the bottom of the page
How do I return a product I purchased from you at Cake International?
Please contact us through the above email address, we will need to be able to establish proof of purchase. So please be prepared to send photographic evidence to support your claim.
I've bought loads of Supers, do I need to return them?
No! the recall is only on the above-listed products.
You are recalling Rolkem products but also running a 20% promotion, seems weird?
As a company, we wouldn't see it as fair to turn our back on a brand in a situation like this. The recall is on less than 0.5% of the entire Rolkem range. In times of despair, it's important the cake decorating community stick together and encourage each other to recover rather than turn our backs.
Does it matter if the product is partly used?
No, not at all, the recall is on the product regardless of how much/little remains.
Is the recall on only particular batches of the product?
The recall is on EVERY batch of the mentioned products, as declared by the FSA in their official documentation.
Where should I contact you about the recall?
All contacts must be made through the email address firstname.lastname@example.org, we cannot deal with an issue such as this through social media messages or third-party channels such as eBay or Amazon.
We don't mean this to seem strict, its just the best way for us to enable all messages are picked up and handled in the same manner, and that our customers get the best resolution possible.
Is this a Fabricake Recall? or a Recall by the FSA?
This is 100% an FSA recall, any social media or other confusion around this matter should be dismissed. We have worked extremely closely with the FSA on this issue, and although the recall is branded as 'Fabricake Sugarcraft Issued a Recall' this was done with direction and reason for concern by the FSA. This is without objection, an FSA recall of the two named products
Apparently, not all batches are affected?
As the FSA notice states, this recall is for ALL batches, ALL sizes, ALL dates. we appreciate there is speculation on this and many opinions on the matter, however, this is the remit provided by the FSA (please see official document above for reference)
Running a product recall end of play on a Friday didn't seem very Cake Maker Friendly?
After a week of discussions, we were put in a position where an FSA directive was forced towards Fabricake. As a responsible retailer, we felt it appropriate to take control of the situation ourselves rather than the FSA initiate procedure without us. We can only apologise for the timing, we always strive to work with the Cake Community and we will continue to do so.