Ethylene oxide in sesame seeds

Peter Kleinert

dipl. Umwelt-Natw. ETH Leiter Chemie +41 44 283 29 99 +41 79 263 03 82 p.kleinert [at] laborveritas [dot] ch

Manuel Mazenauer

M. Sc. Life Science (Chemie)

Prüfleiter Chemie

+41 44 283 29 97

m.mazenauer [at] laborveritas [dot] ch 


Since autumn 2020 , reports of sesame products contaminated with ethylene oxide ( or its conversion product 2-chloroethanol) have repeatedly attracted attention. The reason for this are sesame seeds from India, which were treated with ethylene oxide for disinfection prior to shipping . In the EU as well as in Switzerland, there is a strict ban on use as a plant protection product. Since the legal maximum residue level of 0.05 mg / kg sesame z. T. was massively overshot, a health risk can not be excluded. The substance is classified as "probably carcinogenic", and the BLV has already published numerous public warnings.   


In a very different context ethylene oxide has long been analyzed (d sorbent via A) in the air in laboratory Veritas AG. In order to expand our analysis spectrum, we have a method using GC-MS for sesame seeds and other dry foods such as B. bars or snacks developed . The method is in the validation phase, so that we will be able to offer an accredited method shortly. In the meantime, the analysis is also offered in the non-accredited area if required . Get in touch at Peter Kleinert or Manuel Mazenauer.