Hardly a day goes by that we don’t see product recalls in supermarkets. Salmonella, listeria, ethylene oxide contamination… The list is long ! And this affects very popular products. Thus, at this time, batches of Buitoni frozen pizzas are said to be affected by the bacterium Escherichia coli (E. coli). But Kinder chocolates are not left out. Batches from Belgium would contain salmonella. So, which types of products are more affected than which others?
” Two big health alerts in two weeks, it’s rare, but it’s the law of the series“, entrusts to the Parisian an official from the Ministry of Health. ” Health recalls of products, there are quite regularly, but recalls of products involving human contamination, there are only about ten per year“, declares for her part Henriette de Valk, head of the unit of infectious diseases of food origin at Public Health France. “But it is also because the surveillance system is more and more efficient and it is easier to trace the source of the food that has been infected. »
In total, 4377 references of products food non-compliant or even dangerous for health have been recalled since March 2021. Milk and dairy products rise to the top of the list: these products have been the subject of 1730 recalls in one year (March 2021 – April 2022). Then follow meat, dietary and nutritional products, cereals and bakery products. Then come sweet products, prepared meals and snacks, and finally fish products.
Consumers increasingly exposed!
At the moment, one of the contaminations that worry is ethylene oxide. Even organic products are no exception! This substance “is used to disinfect products. However, Europe has banned it since 2011 because it is classified as a carcinogen. This is what the Directorate General for Competition, Consumer Affairs and Fraud Prevention (DGCCRF) reminded the public again last April.
Contaminated food: The NGO Foodwatch wants to give more details on the real dangers for consumers. ” This gaseous disinfectant used in countries outside the EU to prevent any bacteriological contamination of raw materials (salmonella in particular) is not authorized in Europe because it is carcinogenic, mutagenic and harms reproduction. Thousands of food product references have been recalled in France because they contain ingredients illegally treated with ethylene oxide.”
And to continue:It means that they are non-compliant; they should never have ended up in our supermarkets. Following the alert launched by Belgium in September 2020 on the European network. It was first discovered that the sesame seeds involved in our cookies. Breads, hummus and other ready meals came from India. Today, Turkey is added to the list because we are dealing with contaminated carob flour. Used especially for ice cream.”
Contaminated food: New reminders from the DGCCRF
Today, according to the DGCCRF, we now reach 9,300 products sold in supermarkets. Last June, this consumer watchdog alerted 7,000 products. We keep discovering new ones. A real disaster!
Because these anomalies affect all types of products: from chocolate bars to toast and crackers, chicken, ice cream… Even organic products are no exception! In particular, ethylene oxide is used to preserve sesame or spices of Indian origin. 7,000 products were thus subject to a “withdrawal-recall” procedure by the DGCCRF. The problem is that this is only the tip of the iceberg.
Contaminated foods: In a press release, Foodwatch declares itself “ dismayed by the origin of this scandal: the lack of controls on food products is glaring. And things are not going wellyou”. Last June, the DGCCRF nevertheless officially recalled that the use of ethylene oxide “has been banned in the European Union as a food and feed preservative since 2011”. “As with all other substances classified as CMR, consumer exposure to this substance should be limited as much as possible, as a risk may exist in the long term in the event of consumption of products containing it”.
“Investigations are currently underway. In connection with the European Commission to identify the origin of this contamination”, however specifies the DGCCRF. “We are asking ingredient importers and European manufacturers to strengthen self-checks. In order to ensure the compliance of the ingredients and products that they market with European regulations”, proclaims the CLCV. In the meantime, consumers are taking risks. To limit the damage, avoid anything that contains sesame seeds!