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List of food recalls for ethylene oxide grows

Photo by Viki Mohamad on Unsplash

Belgium’s Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain (FASFC) has expanded the list of food items being recalled due to excessive levels of ethylene oxide, a chemical usually used in plant protection products.

The notification related to the problem, which occurs in several European Member States, was sent out by the FASFC following analyses on sesame seeds imported from India that showed that the maximum residue level for this substance was exceeded.

Since then, further analysis prompted recalls of other spices and products.

Using the substance ethylene oxide as a plant protection product is not allowed in Europe, the FASFC says.

The list of recalled products is long, and includes popular ice cream treats from Carrefour brands, along with the brands Snickers, Twix, Bounty and M&M’s.

New to the list are Kiri cheeses and spreads.

Ethylene oxide is often used as a preservative to keep products fresh, and is still allowed in some countries, but not Europe.

The recalls have been going on since 2020, when 105 products with sesame seeds were recalled in that year alone.

Products like spices, grains, and seeds soon followed with more than 40 recalls since the start of July, many of them for ice cream products but also foodstuffs like Bicky sauces.

Ethylene oxide is not immediately dangerous when used in small quantities, but when used for a long time and in large quantities it can be carcinogenic, according to the FASFC.

The full list of recalled products can be found here.