EUROPE – From 2023 to 2026, European nations must collect and analyze samples of specific foods for ethylene oxide under the European Commission’s new legislation that has added the chemical to a list of pesticides that should be tested for.

This is after the substance’s involvement in hundreds of recalls in recent years. Ethylene oxide was discovered in sesame seeds from India in September 2020.

Later, the chemical was discovered in other uncooked ingredients like herbs, spices, and locust bean gum, a type of thickening agent used in ice cream and other meals.

The use of ethylene oxide to disinfect foodstuffs is not permitted in Europe.

At least six discussions were held at the European level, where certain nations were not pleased with the way the problem was handled, reports Food Safety News.

According to the 2021 Alert and Cooperation Network (ACN) report, it led to the largest food recall operation in EU history.

As a result, the EU Commission strengthened government regulations on some foods brought into Europe.

The most recent regulations apply to a variety of goods and countries, including calcium carbonate from India, tomato ketchup and other tomato sauces from Mexico, items made with locust beans from Morocco and Malaysia, and vanilla extract from the United States.

The EU countries switched from a policy of zero tolerance to a more specialized one for goods containing the chemical in the summer of 2021.

Companies must determine whether ethylene oxide will also be present in the finished product when it is discovered in raw material.

Only finished products with ethylene oxide levels above the threshold are recalled from customers.

As a result, there were significantly fewer recalls overall, though a few did take place in 2023.

In accordance with the new EU rule, more than 100 pesticides will be examined in products with plant origin between 2024 and 2026.

It cites chemicals including glyphosate, folpet, and chlorpyrifos in foods like bananas, melons, tomatoes, onions, and carrots.

There are about 30 pesticides that should be checked for in items with animal origins. In products like chicken eggs, cow’s milk, and poultry fat, DDT, fipronil, and lindane are present.

Each member state must also collect and examine 10 samples of processed baby food made from cereal in 2024.

Instead of infant formula, follow-on formula, and processed cereal-based baby food, the focus will be on ten samples of foods for newborns and young children in 2025. Five samples of infant formula and follow-on formula should be tested in 2026.

It will be examined in and on dried beans, rye, and rice in 2023, followed by wheat in 2024, barley and oats in 2025, and then dried beans, rye, and brown rice once more in 2026. The sampling lot is selected at random.

In addition to determining consumer exposure to pesticide residues in food with plant and animal origins, the goal is to assure compliance with the maximum residue levels of pesticides.

In order to measure consumer exposure to pesticide residues in food with both plant and animal origins, the maximum residue levels of pesticides must be adhered to.

Each year, member states are required to provide information about the preceding calendar year by the end of August.

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