NESTLE has ordered the urgent removal from shops throughout Spain of 46 types of ice cream found to be contaminated with a substance known as ethylene oxide (ETO).
ETO, an inflammable gas that is sometimes used for sterilisation purposes at low doses, is known to cause cancer and has been detected in products by leading brands such as Nestle itself, Milka, Toblerone, Mars, Smarties, Oreo, La Lechera, Princesa and Nuii – all manufactured by a firm named Froneri.
The manufacturer published an immediate notice on its website, informing consumers about the accidental contamination and the urgent removal of all affected items from shops.
Froneri added that the problem only involves ‘very specific batches of certain products’, not entire brands or types of ice cream, and that the problem stems from an ingredient supplied by an overseas source.
Consumers are advised to check whether an ice cream they have just bought is safe by visiting https://helados.nestle.es/comprueba-tu-helado and entering the first six digits of the batch number.
In any case, Froneri claims that the amount of ETO found in the finished products is so small that even if an affected product is eaten, ‘it is highly improbable that it will pose a threat to consumers’ health’.
According to the company, health risks derived from ETO are caused mainly by direct contact with the substance or through ‘a hypothetical continued consumption of high doses’.
Consumers’ union Facua advises people who may have affected products at home to refrain from eating them and instead return them to the shop where they were bought in exchange for a refund.