40 food products recalled over pesticide contamination
It has been banned since 1981.
Over the last year, more than 40 food products have been pulled from our shelves over contamination concerns.
Since September of last year, the Food Safety Authority of Ireland has recalled over 40 items as they were contaminated with ethylene oxide - and they're not coming back anytime soon.
Ethylene oxide is a chemical used as a pesticide and has been classified as a mutagen, carcinogen and reproductive toxicant by the European Chemicals Agency.
It has also been banned from the EU since 1981, but is still used in non-EU member states so bacteria doesn't grow.
Among all the products recalled over the last year, it was found to be an ingredient in products such as food supplements, ice cream, flavoured cheese, sesame seeds and instant noodles.
This issue was first brought to the attention of the European Commission on September 9 2020 when Belgium reported to the European Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed that sesame seeds imported from India had been contaminated.
While consuming this does not have huge effects on the human body, but it can pose a risk if you were to constantly consume this contaminated food over a long period of time.
The impacts could include an increased risk of cancers of the white blood cells, including non-Hodgkin lymphoma, myeloma, and lymphocytic leukaemia, as well as an increased risk of breast cancer in women.
It should be noted that for this to happen, a person would need to eat the contaminated food every day for the rest of their lives.
Jane Ryder from the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI), said that "consumers should not be unduly worried."
"The consumption of foods containing ethylene oxide does not pose an acute risk to health, but there is an increased health risk if foods contaminated with ethylene oxide are consumed over a long period of time," she said.
The contamination first happened with the seeds from India, with another found in the additive locust bean gum.
This is used as a thickening agent or stabiliser and used in ice cream, cereals, meat products, fermented milk and cheese.
While the locust bean contamination is yet to be confirmed, Ryder said the source of the issue is still unknown.