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Belgium Says Ethylene Oxide Affects Recall Drop

Belgium issued nearly 400 product recalls and warnings in 2022, down from the previous year.

Businesses must inform consumers if a product has entered the market and poses a risk in consumption. This happened 394 times in 2022, compared with 492 in 2021, the Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain (FASFC) said.

More than 8 out of 10 product recalls in 2022 are due to detected chemical or microbiological risks.

In 2022, 289 products were recalled by consumers. The reduction of 98 recalls is directly related to the ethylene oxide issue, which has largely been resolved in 2022. However, recalls are still happening in 2023, mainly in France but also in Germany and the Netherlands.

In 2021, 55% of recalls in Belgium were related to the presence of ethylene oxide, which is not allowed in Europe. This percentage drops to 13% in 2022.

In September 2020, ethylene oxide was detected in sesame seeds from India. The substance was later found in other raw materials such as herbs, spices and locust bean gum, a thickening agent used in ice cream and other foods.

In summer 2021, European countries move from a zero tolerance to a fine-tuned approach to products containing the substance. When ethylene oxide is found in raw materials, companies must check whether it is also present in the final product. Only final products containing ethylene oxide above the limit will be recalled by consumers.

Other reasons for warning

may exist like 2022 Quarter One of the product recalls was caused by Listeria, Salmonella or Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC).

Nearly six out of 10 recalls were made after companies or authorities detected chemical risks, such as excessive levels of pesticide residues or the presence of unauthorized additives.

A total of 41 recalls were due to foreign object contamination such as metal fragments

For each recalled product, posters were posted in stores and posted on FASFC’s website and social media Post details on. The purpose is to inform consumers who may have purchased the affected product.

As in 2021, 105 allergy alerts must be issued in 2022. The vast majority are concerned about the lack of information on one or more allergens on the packaging.

Companies must report to FASFC any problems that may affect other companies or consumers. In 2022, the agency received 1,342 notices from companies, down from 1,557 in 2021. With each notification of a potential problem, FASFC investigates and may deem it necessary to request a company to issue a product recall or warning.

The number of alerts involving Belgium in the Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF) continues to rise, reaching 749 in 2022.

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