Boots and Tesco have recalled a slew of own-label supplements in Ireland due to the presence of 2-chloroethanol, a recognised reaction product of ethylene oxide. Ethylene oxide is a pesticide that is not permitted for use in foods sold in the EU, but is approved for use by other countries outside the EU.
Details of the recall are contained in two alerts posted by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI). Boots has recalled 31 of its own label supplements, while Tesco has recalled four supplement lines. Both recalls involve products marketed for pregnancy support.
The European Chemicals Agency (EHCA) says ethylene oxide is toxic if swallowed and classifies it as a carcinogenic, mutagenic, substance that is also toxic to human reproduction.
Commenting, the FSAI said: “(while) … consumption of the contaminated products does not pose an acute risk to health, there is an increased risk if there is continued consumption of contaminated food over a long period of time. Therefore, exposure to this substance needs to be minimised”.
Point-of-sale recall notices will be displayed in Boots and Tesco stores supplied with the implicated batches.
A spokesperson for the FSAI told Natural Newsdesk that the source of the contamination had yet to be confirmed.
European countries and the UK have faced a growing number of ethylene oxide related recalls after the substance was detected in a range of widely used food additives, earlier this year. The discovery has led to thousands of food products, including food supplements, being removed from sale.
In a statement, Boots Ireland said: “The safety of our customers is of upmost importance to us. As a precautionary measure, we have made the decision to recall a small number of batches of selected Boots vitamins and supplements from our stores in Ireland. Consumption of the affected products does not pose an acute risk to health”.