Ethylene oxide is used for the fumigation of freight containers.

Ethylene oxide or 2-chloroethanol residues are found not only in food but also in food additives. Maximum residue limits have now been set for food additives.


Ethylene oxide is classified in the EU as a substance of concern with carcinogenic, mutagenic and reproductive toxicity risks. The EU Commission has now closed a loophole in Regulation (EU) 231/2012 and also set maximum permitted levels for food additives.


The following addition was made to the Annex of Regulation (EU) No 231/2012 by Regulation (EU) 2022/1396 of 11.8.2022, which came into force in all member states on 1.9.22:

"Ethylene oxide shall not be used for the sterilisation of food additives. No residues exceeding 0.1 mg/kg of ethylene oxide (sum of ethylene oxide and 2-chloroethanol (expressed as ethylene oxide)) shall be present in the food additives listed in Annexes II and III of Regulation (EC) No 1333/2008, including mixtures of food additives, irrespective of their origin". (citation)


The AGROLAB laboratories carry out the analysis for ethylene oxide/2-chloroethanol residues quickly and inexpensively according to recognised, accredited methods and evaluate them according to the applicable EU regulations.


Link: COMMISSION REGULATION (EU) 2022/1396 of August 11th, 2022


Author: Dr. Frank Mörsberger