A notification issued by the European Fee (EC) fast alert system for meals and feed on April 7 that unauthorised pesticide residue ethylene oxide had been present in salsa dips from Mexico, caught the Indian exporting fraternity unexpectedly.
The rationale for the shock was that the EC has termed ethylene oxide a “pesticide residue” from its earlier classification as a “fumigant”. It has made it necessary for European members to take and take a look at meals samples for the chemical from 2023 to 2026. This yr, dried bean, rye and rice shipments can be analysed for presence of ethylene oxide.
In 2024, wheat can be examined and in 2025, barley and oats will come underneath scrutiny. In 2026, dried beans, rye and brown rice can be examined for the chemical. EU member States should present sampling knowledge yearly for this testing.
“Terming ethylene oxide as a pesticide residue means agricultural merchandise being exported to the European Union will now be mandatorily examined,” mentioned commerce analyst S Chandrasekaran.
The EC had issued alerts in opposition to a lot of merchandise for the presence of ethylene oxide. These merchandise needed to be recalled.
Exports of sesame (til/gingelly) from India had been held up at European ports on the detection of ethylene oxide. The chemical was additionally present in different meals resembling spices, herbs and bean gum, which is used as a thickening agent in ice lotions.
The EC then issued a clarification that the presence of ethylene oxide is just not authorised in meals components, no matter the place the meals had originated.
The fee set the utmost residue restrict at 0.1 mg per kg. This contains 2-chloro-ethanol, which is expressed as ethylene oxide in sure components which can be handled with the substance. The European Fee has banned the usage of ethylene oxide for disinfecting foodstuff.
The EC’s new norm on ethylene oxide will now cowl calcium carbonate shipments from India, vanilla extract from the US, locust bean from Morocco and Malaysia and tomato ketchup and sauces from Mexico.
The most recent change is in keeping with the European Union’s zero tolerance for merchandise containing substances that may hurt people. If ethylene oxide is detected in a uncooked materials, European corporations should take a look at the completed product, too, for the chemical’s presence.
In India, ethylene oxide has been present in some spices. Throughout 2021, a number of shipments of sesame needed to be recalled because of the presence of ethylene oxide.
The European Fee has categorised ethylene oxide as carcinogenic, mutagenic and poisonous for copy. The EC has fastened the restrict on the chemical’s presence in 2003, based mostly on the suggestions of the Scientific Committee on Meals Security.