High levels of pesticides found in a range of food products on Dutch store shelves
The Dutch Food Safety Authorities (NVWA) recalled a number of products that contained a large amount of the pesticide ethylene oxide. Multiple products in the Netherlands have been taken off the shelves since September 2020 because they contained a high level of ethylene oxide-contaminated locust bean gum that can pose a health risk to the consumer.
One of these products was the mozzarella substitute Vemondo Vegan Mondarella, sold in Lidl with the expiry dates August 25, 26 and 27. Isola Bio also had to recall their Bio Coconut drink with the expiry dates November 23, 2021 and December 9, 2021, as well as, Isola Bio Easy on Taste with the expiry date October 30, 2021, AD reported.
Other products that were contaminated included a number of Knorr World products, ice creams, Heks’nkaas and yogurt dressing, as well as John West Haringfilets sold in Jumbo, Plus and Hoogvliet.
Ethylene oxide does not pose an immediate health risk to the consumer. In the long run, or if consumed in large amounts, it can lead to health problems. “It can be detrimental for the hormone regulation. It can also have an effect on cancer development”, a Foodwatch spokesperson said to NL Times.
Ethylene oxide is only used in the European Union for the sterilization of single-use medical devices, but countries outside the EU use the chemical to sterilize spices and grains, such as sesame seeds in India. Additionally, and despite the regulations in the EU, some member countries do not strictly adhere to the rules, Foodwatch said.
“It can be hard for consumers to determine which foods contain a high level of pesticides”, the spokesperson said. “The responsibility can’t only be placed in the hands of the consumer. It is impossible to know for them which products were contaminated.”
France recalled more than seven thousand products after contaminations were made known. The approach in the Netherlands was slower. “In the Netherlands, swifter action and more transparency are required to protect the consumer”, Foodwatch said.