We were notified by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) (letter dated on 4th November 2020) that there was an issue throughout Europe relating to a pesticide called Ethylene oxide being found in batches of organic sesame seeds coming from India. This resulted in widespread product withdrawals by many food brands which sell products containing sesame seeds. Unfortunately, a batch of organic sesame seeds that was used in Linwoods five seed blend was affected and therefore the withdrawal impacted some of this product line as it contains 12.5% organic sesame seeds. The batch concerned was produced in October 2020 and all of our retailers have been notified to withdraw the product. It should be noted that the FSA deems this to be a low health risk to the consumer and you should not be alarmed if you have eaten the product.
At Linwoods we take great pride in producing high quality foods and since we opened our health food factory over ten years ago we have never had a product recall. We have full BRC and Organic Soil association approval and are regularly audited.
All raw materials used in our products are rigorously tested at goods intake stage when we carry out lab testing for over 400 pesticides. Unfortunately ethylene oxide was not highlighted as a potential pesticide by European Food Standards Agency to any food company in Europe until November 20 and therefore it was not on Linwoods lab testing schedule.
We are extremely disappointed that some of our customers have been affected by this product withdrawal and because of this issue we have taken the decision to replace Organic sesame with Organic chia in this product. Our new product will be launched in December 2020.
I would like to assure you that we take all matters of food safety and quality very seriously and If you have any other questions please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Questions & Answers
What is the pesticide?
Officials noted the presence of ethylene oxide, “at a content higher than the regulatory maximum limit in certain batches of seeds of imported sesame”.
Is it a risk to my health?
The FSA have deemed this to be “low risk”. Although the consumption of the contaminated sesame seeds does not pose an immediate risk to health, there may be issues if there is continued consumption of ethylene oxide over a long period of time.
Which Linwoods products are affected?
The only Linwoods product affected is MILLED FLAXSEED SUNFLOWER PUMPKIN SESAME SEEDS and GOJI BERRIES. This product contains 12.5% organic sesame seeds. The small number of lots concerned were produced in October 2020 and have been withdrawn.
This contaminated sesame has affected many European food manufactures and the product withdrawal applies to their products also, not just to Linwoods.
Has this product been removed from all shops?
Yes, Linwoods have had the product withdrawn from all retail and online sellers.
Are you still producing this product?
We have taken the decision to reformulate the recipe of Linwoods product (Flaxseed, Sunflower, Pumpkin, Sesame Seed and Goji berry blend) which contained Organic Sesame seeds. We are replacing the Organic Sesame seed with Organic Chia seed. We have no plans in the near future to add sesame seed to any of the Linwoods products.