Over 7,000 food products recalled in France due to carcinogens

(Illustration photo)
(Illustration photo) © Pixabay/CC

Several thousand food products containing sesame seeds are to be withdrawn from sale and recalled, according to the latest list drawn up by the French competition authority (DGCCRF), after France's scientific research body said the ingredient in question could cause cancer or abnormalities.


Savoury cakes, breads, burgers, rusks, cereals, ice creams and sorbets, teas and coffees, ready meals, spreads, oils and sauces, sweet biscuits, cheese, flours and cooking aids: the products concerned by the recall are from a wide range of categories and brands.

French health authorities were informed at the beginning of September 2020, by their Belgian colleagues, of imported batches of sesame seeds whose ethylene oxide content exceeds the maximum regulatory limit. 

Contaminated sesame

Ethylene oxide is used in the food industry to sterilise spices and seeds, including sesame, which is present in many products. 

It is listed by the French National Institute for Scientific Research (INRS) as "capable of causing cancer" and "inducing genetic abnormalities". 

The French competition authority (DGCCRF) has undertaken the necessary investigations to determine the origin of this contamination. 

Pending the results of these investigations, they are withdrawing all products that may contain contaminated sesame seeds, but also psyllium and spices, which are potentially involved.

The list of recalled products is regularly updated and available on the French Ministry of Economy website.

Daily newsletterReceive essential international news every morning

Keep up to date with international news by downloading the RFI app