Third list of Nestlé ice creams with ‘carcinogenic’ ethylene oxide substance

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ethylene oxide in ice cream

MADRID – The consumer organisation FACUA has unveiled the third list of ice creams that are contaminated with the ‘carcinogenic’ ethylene oxide. They are sold under the names Pirulo Mikolápiz, Extreme, MilkaNuii, Oreo, Toblerone and Smarties. Manufacturer Froneri must ask all points of sale to remove these ice creams. 

According to FACUA, two employees of the company provided the information to the consumer organisation. However, the manufacturer has refused to provide the full list. 

Which ice creams are included? 

The new list includes ice creams in 14 varieties. These are – Extreme Nata-Fresa, Pirulo Mikolápiz, Milka Avellana, Nuii Almendrado, Nuii Dark Chocolate with Almonds, Oreo bombón, Sandwich Bokazas Nata, Toblerone bombón, Smarties, Llra Cup Suprema Nougat, Gran Dama nata , Cream Princess Cake, Nestlé Tres Gustos Block and Nestlé Vanilla Block.

Furthermore, FACUA advises people if they have any of the above-mentioned ice creams, to return them to the point of sale. Then they will be refunded the money. 

On July 26, FACUA published an initial list of various batches of 46 Froneri-manufactured ice creams that were withdrawn from the market. These were of the brands Nestlé, Milka, Toblerone, Nuii, Oreo, Princesa, La Lechera, and Smarties. 

However, on August 6, the association reported a second list of units belonging to 19 varieties of Pirulo Mikolápiz, Extreme Vanilla, Cono Extreme Tres Chocolates, Nuii Almendrado with Vanilla from Java, Nuii Mascarpone with Scandinavian Blueberries, Bombón Nuii Coco and Mango de India, Ice Cream Chococlack and Bombon Milka. 

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Why did the manufacturer not provide a list to FACUA? 

The manufacturer Froneri has refused to give a full list of the ice creams it is recalling to FACUA. Commenting to the Consumers’ Association, Froneri states “We have sent personalised messages to all our distributors. This is so they block the identified batches delivered to them. Furthermore, it is necessary to emphasise only very specific batches are affected. Therefore, there is no product category that is affected in its entirety. And NOT all products produced under the same batch number are necessarily affected.  The same batch has different product ranges, some of which have used the affected stabiliser and others have not”. 

What if you ate a contaminated Nestlé ice cream? 

Both Spanish health authorities and the manufacturer state it is not dangerous to public health to eat the ice cream contaminated with ethylene oxide writes the newspaper El Economista. 

What is Ethylene Oxide? 

It is a chemical and as such has been banned in the European Union as a pesticide since 1991. Furthermore, its use as a food and feed protection product has been banned since 2011. However, it is still allowed for the disinfection of medical equipment. The substance is an ‘extremely flammable’ and ‘toxic’ gas. Moreover, ethylene oxide can cause “cancer” and “genetic abnormalities”. This is according to the toxicology profile prepared by the National Institute for Research and Safety (INRS). 

The Spanish Agency for Food Safety and Nutrition (AESAN) urged food companies to withdraw from the market all products made with E410 – locust bean gum or locust bean gum – a contaminated food additive containing ethylene oxide. Specifically, it has been widely used in the manufacture of ice cream, where the additive is used as a stabiliser. 

Statement Froneri 

Froneri said in a statement “the amount of the affected ingredient used in the final product is negligible. In addition, even in the case of consumption of a product affected by this incident, it is highly unlikely to pose a risk to human health.” The potential health risk arises mainly from direct manipulation of the substance or from hypothetical consumption in large doses”. 

Statement Mars 

Manufacturer Mars agrees with this statement and states although the content of ethylene oxide in the ingredient concerned is higher than the legally established limits for this ingredient in Europe, it is only a very small amount. Therefore, consumption of the products is not harmful to health. 

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