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EU found cancer-causing chemical in 527 Indian items: Check full list here

Of the 527 items, 54 were labelled 'organic'.
Last Updated : 24 April 2024, 12:02 IST
Last Updated : 24 April 2024, 12:02 IST

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Food safety authorities in the European Union found 527 products linked to India to contain ethylene oxide, a cancer-causing chemical.

Of these, 54 were labelled 'organic'.

Here is the full list of products -

> nuts and sesame seeds

> herbs and spices

> dietetic foods

> other food products

There were 313 cases which were flagged when it came to nuts and sesame seeds containing ethylene oxide, while there were 60 such cases for herbs and spices. There were 48 such instances with dietic foods, and 34 with other food products, between September 2020 and April 2024, data from the Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF) shows.

While items like sesame seeds, black pepper, and ashwagandha were labelled 'organic' in some instances despite containing ethylene oxide, some came with labels claiming the products to be 'premium immunity enhancers'.

Reportedly, 87 consignments were outright rejected at the border while many of the remaining were later removed from the markets.

The European Union introduced the restriction on the use of ethylene oxide in 1991 but the increase in imports has prompted authorities to step up vigilance. As per the official reports, the EU has said ethylene oxide is a genotoxic carcinogen "where no safe level can be established" when it comes to its presence in products, especially food items.

The authorities reported ethylene oxide contamination in 468 items that were imported from several countries, including India, in 2020-21. Finding the toxic chemical in locust bean gum, used as a food additive in a wide variety of products, "led to the biggest ever food recall operation in EU history".

Jubin George Joseph, Chief Operating Officer, Ramaiah Advanced Testing Labs, noted that besides direct exposure to ethylene oxide, consumers are susceptible to two other chemicals which are produced due to the presence of ethylene oxide in food items.

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Published 24 April 2024, 12:02 IST

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