Hi Simon,
This week I had a problem with some Ilford paper that I thought you should be aware of.
I live in Geelong, Australia and I believe that Ilford paper is imported by C R Kennedy. On Monday I bought a 250 sheet box of Pearl 8x10 rc multigrade and went back to the darkroom and started printing. I did a couple of prints from an old packet of pearl multigrade in fresh developer and these turned out fine. I then opened the new box and did a print of the same neg and except for about an inch at the top and bottom, the print was black. I changed my exposure and did another print and it still came out black with lighter strips at the top and bottom. After halving the original exposure, I finally got a print that had the middle part just about right but the top and bottom strips were really strange. At the top was printed the word Ilford in the same size as the printing on the box and there was a small rectangle at the bottom. I tried printing with sheets taken from the middle of both packets in the box and still could not get a print even close to the original done on the old paper.
I took the box back to Camera House, the local Ilford retailer and showed them the prints. Fortunately there was one person who actually knows enough about film to be able to confirm what I already suspected. He said the paper had been exposed to X Rays and that the whole box would be useless. They immediately replaced the box with another from their shelves. I haven't tried this box yet so I don't know if it's been affected by X Rays as well.
Both the salesman at Camera House and I believe that the box was X Rayed when it went through Australian Customs and I thought you should know. I'm not sure if it normal practice to X Ray sample boxes of photographic paper at customs but if this is normal practice these boxes should not be given back to the importer for sale to the public. If this is not normal practice then I think Ilford should complain to Austrlian Customs as it is injurious to Ilfords good name as a film and paper supplier.
I have already sent a letter of complaint to Customs, but I think a letter from Ilford would carry more weight.
Sorry for the epistle, but I wanted to let you know.
Mike Wynd