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Ethylene oxide – toxic gases in sesame products

Ethylene oxide is a gas that is used in many countries for the disinfection of heat-sensitive foodstuffs. As it has a toxic effect and, in high doses, can cause seizures and even coma, it has not been authorised for use in the food industry in Europe since 1981.


Product recalls due to too high ethylene oxide values


In Germany, Europe and the USA, product recalls occur again and again because the ethylene oxide content in sesame is exceeded. According to Regulation (EC) No 396.2005, the maximum residue level for the whole EU is 0.05 ppm. In the USA ethylene oxide may be used in the food industry, but here too the maximum residue value of 7ppm applies (for sesame).

How does this happen?


Through the global economy, industry obtains raw materials from all over the world. Since the use of ethylene oxide is not restricted in many countries as a disinfectant for food, manufacturers accordingly purchase already contaminated goods and process them further. Ethylene oxide is also used as a pesticide to control pests. This mainly concerns spice plants, herbs and seeds.


How Tentamus can help you offer a safe product


The Tentamus Group has laboratories all over the world that can carry out regular analyses on your food. The experienced and well-trained staff at the instrumental analysis departments analyze according to the residue definition, i.e. ethylene oxide calculated from the sum of ethylene oxide and 2-chloroethanol.

The determination limit is 0.01 mg/kg and our labs can offer processing times of 12 h, 24-48 h and 3-5 working days.


Do you have questions about our service?


Our expert will be happy to assist you and provide you with comprehensive information.


Roy Sperling
+49 (0) 30 206 038 320

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