The Food Standards Agency (FSA) have issued an alert regarding several batches of sesame seeds from India which have been found to be contaminated with Ethylene oxide. Ethylene oxide is a pesticide which can be harmful and is not approved for use on food in the UK or the EU.
This issue has been subject to large scale action across the EU with numerous Rapid Alert System for Feed and Food (RASFF) alerts issued. The UK has been included in some of these RASFF notifications and action is already underway.
Any business that has received, or believes they have received, batches of potentially contaminated sesame seeds is being asked to notify their Local Authority and to withdraw products containing them from sale. The FSA have asked Local Authorities to assist in any such withdrawals as required, including verifying that affected products have been withdrawn and ensuring appropriate disposal.
The FSA has confirmed that, based on the likely level of exposure through the consumption of affected foods, the risk to consumers is low and the likely level of exposure from affected products is low. However, any risk would increase with higher levels of exposure or exposure over a longer period of time. The advocated product withdrawal in this case will reduce the period of potential exposure.
Further information can be found here