Europe: Risk of presence of ethylene oxide in sesame seeds and spices

Since September 2020, more than 500 notifications concerning the presence of ethylene oxide (banned for the treatment of food in the European Union) at a level above the maximum regulatory limit (MRL set in Regulation (EC) 396/2005) have been published in the RASFF (Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed) food alert portal by many countries. These notifications mainly concern sesame seeds or products containing them, but also other products such as psyllium, turmeric, ginger, amaranth, onion, okra, curry, pepper, cumin, spice mixes,…. According to available information, most contaminated raw materials come from India, but not only. The health authorities of the Member States have implemented numerous withdrawal / recall measures for products containing these contaminated raw materials.

Reminder: Article 19 of Regulation (EC) No 396/2005 prohibits the use of raw materials uncompliant with MRL in the production of processed products.

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