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Recall notice issued on Boots food supplements due to contaminated products

Ethylene oxide is not permitted for use in foods sold in the European Union.

The list includes items like zinc, folic acid, cod liver oil, turmeric supplements, as well as multivitamins and immune defence supplements.
The list includes items like zinc, folic acid, cod liver oil, turmeric supplements, as well as multivitamins and immune defence supplements.
Image: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

THE FOOD SAFETY Authority of Ireland (FSAI) has issued a recall notice on 31 Boots own brand products because they’re contaminated with a pesticide.

Ethylene oxide is not permitted for use in foods sold in the European Union.

The European Chemicals Agency (EHCA) says this substance is toxic if swallowed.

The agency has classified ethylene oxide as a carcinogenic, mutagenic, substance that may impact fertility or an unborn child.

It has been banned in foodstuffs in the European Union since 1981, however it is approved for use in food items among some nations outside the EU.

There, it’s mostly used to prevent fungus or bacteria growing in food.

This recall is yet another notice issued because of the pesticide, with more than 40 notices of this kind issued in just over one year.

The initial contamination of foodstuffs with ethylene oxide occurred in products from India with sesame seeds. Product recalls related to this contamination are still continuing, and impact products with long shelf dates – like cereals, chocolate, biscuits, crackers and spices.

Another source of contamination was found in the additive locust bean gum, which originates from the seeds of the carob tree.

Locust bean gum is used as a thickening agent or stabiliser and is mainly found in products such as ice cream, cereals, meat products, fermented milk and cheese.

However, Jane Ryder from the FSAI told The Journal that how the locust bean gum contamination occurred has “not yet been confirmed” and therefore, “the source of the issue is not known in all cases”.

There’s no acute risk to a person’s health if they do consume the contaminated Boots products, but the FSAI believes that longer term consumption over time brings an “increased risk.”

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“Therefore, exposure to this substance needs to be minimised.”

Boots is also posting recall notices in stores, with the batches, seen below, on them.

Boots Food Supplements 3 A visual of the Boots products that have been recalled. Source: Food Safety of Ireland

The list includes items like zinc, folic acid, cod liver oil, turmeric supplements, as well as multivitamins, lifestyle supplements (including vegan options) and immune defence supplements.

A full list of the products is available on the FSAI website.

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