Testing of Ethylene Oxide:

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May 16, 2024

Testing of Ethylene Oxide:

Why in news ?  India has made the testing and sampling of Ethylene Oxide (EtO) residue for all spice shipments to Singapore and Hong Kong from May 7 mandatory.

  • By citing presence of pesticide, ethylene oxide , Hong Kong on April 5 banned four products of Indian manufacturers MDH Pvt. and Everest Food Products Pvt.
  • The products included MDH’s Madras curry powder, sambhar masala mixed masala powder and curry powder mixed masala powder and Everest’s fish curry masala.
  • Following Hong Kong’s move, the Singapore Food Agency (SFA) on April 18 ordered the recall of Everest’s fish curry masala after the food regulator found presence of ethylene oxide at a level which is “not fit for human consumption”

What the officials said on it?

  • The rejection rate of spices is less than 1 per cent of the total quantity exported by us to major countries. India exported about 15 million tonne of spices in FY24 and 200 kg is a small quantity that has been recalled.
  • EtO is a fumigant type of product that is used during transportation and that some amount of pesticide is allowed in the process of food management.
  • Different countries also have prescribed varying limits of chemicals that can be present in food.

About Ethylene oxide:

  • It is a versatile chemical compound with a wide range of applications, though it’s important to note it can also be hazardous. Here’s a breakdown:
  • What is Ethylene Oxide?
  • It’s a flammable, colorless gas at room temperature with a faintly sweet odor.
  • Highly reactive, which makes it useful in many industrial processes but also a safety concern.
  • Applications of Ethylene Oxide:

Chemical Production: It is a crucial building block for many other chemicals, including antifreeze, detergents, plastics, and pharmaceuticals.

Sterilization: Ethylene oxide gas is a common sterilant used in hospitals and medical facilities to sterilize heat-sensitive medical equipment and other items that cannot withstand high temperatures (e.g., disposable syringes). It’s estimated to sterilize billions of medical devices each year.

Other Applications:

  • Ethylene oxide has various industrial uses beyond chemical production and sterilization, including:
  • In the food and beverage industry for certain applications.
  • Manufacturing certain components in batteries for electric vehicles.
  • Modifying starches used in various industries.

Safety Considerations:

  • Ethylene oxide is flammable, carcinogenic, mutagenic, and irritating.
  • Exposure to high levels can cause serious health problems.
  • Facilities handling ethylene oxide must have proper safety measures in place.




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Testing of Ethylene Oxide: | Vaid ICS Institute