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Europe: Updated specifications for food additives concerning ethylene oxide

Regulation (EU) 231/2012 laying down specifications for food additives was amended on 12 August 2022 by Regulation (EU) 2022/1396 regarding ethylene oxide. Until now, ethylene oxide could not be used for sterilization in food additives, but it could be found in the purity criteria of certain additives for which it was involved in production, within a limit of 0.2 ppm. Following many RASFF alerts issued since 2020 concerning the presence of ethylene oxide in foodstuffs (as a reminder, a substance considered as carcinogenic, mutagenic and reprotoxic), and in order to ensure a high level of protection of human health, it is established that the presence of ethylene oxide residues (sum of ethylene oxide and 2-chloro-ethanol) is not allowed in all food additives, whatever their origin.  The limit is set at the quantification level of 0.1 mg/kg. The additive entries for which ethylene oxide appeared as a purity criterion have been updated accordingly.

This text entered into force on 1 September 2022.