The list goes on.
Hamburger buns, energy bars, hummus, Thai salad, chocolate… On its website, the Repression of Fraud (DGCCRF) continues to add references to sesame products, while nearly 300 have already been recalled.
"We are monitoring this very evolving situation from day to day," says the administration, which updates the list in real time.
All these products contain seeds contaminated with ethylene oxide, a substance classified as carcinogenic, mutagenic and reprotoxic, and almost banned in Europe.
Foods sold in the European Union must contain less than 0.05 milligrams per kilo, the threshold from which laboratories can characterize them.
Organic brands also affected
Organic products, which one would imagine more protected against chemical substances, are not spared!
"Numerous investigations are underway with the authorities, in particular in order to understand how this contamination could have taken place on organic crops," replied the quality service of La Vie Claire, a chain of stores specializing in organic products which has withdrawn several cookies, flour or bread from its departments.
But for reminders, it could be long, very long.
Sesame seeds keep for a long time and are not used every day by consumers… If you find one of the affected products in your cupboards, destroy it or bring it back to the store for a refund.
It was a Belgian company which, on September 9, issued a first shared alert on the RASFF, the European food safety monitoring network.
Consequently, the positive tests follow one another: in Austria, Spain, Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Holland, Poland, Russia ...
Neonicotinoids are also… on our plates
“Manufacturers and distributors cannot simply say that they did not know.
They are responsible for what they put on the market ”, indignant Ingrid Kragl, of the consumer association Foodwatch.
“Scandal after scandal, we do not learn any lesson: for example there is no obligation for the laboratories which carry out the tests to report the worrying results.
Industrialists can then hide the dust under the carpet, especially since the sanctions are never up to par.
Since the end of October, each batch of sesame seeds leaving India for the Old Continent must be accompanied by an official certificate which states that the seeds comply with European standards.
Every second batch must now be checked for pesticide residues including ethylene oxide, which requires a specific analysis method.
Carcinogenic, but long term and in high dose
Some tests showed ethylene oxide levels of up to 186 milligrams per kilogram, a value 3,500 times higher than the maximum residue limit (MRL).
"Such levels of contamination represent a serious risk for human health", insists the European Union in its "Official Journal".
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But how did this product end up on our plates?
Ethylene oxide is used as a gas as a disinfectant, to prevent mold growth.
It was probably not applied during a field treatment.
Rather, we would have sprinkled the silos where large quantities of seeds are stored to fight, in particular, against salmonella.
There is no risk of poisoning with a few seeds.
Ethylene oxide can be carcinogenic, but long term and in high doses.
The problem is that at this point it is not known how long the seeds originating in India were treated with ethylene oxide.