Health authorities to lift warning on Ukrainian sunflower oil

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The temporary warning was issued on Friday after a batch was found contaminated with aliphatic hydrocarbons.

28 April 2008

MADRID - The government was expected to lift its warning on consuming sunflower oil from Ukraine "within hours" on Sunday, radio station Cadena SER reported Sunday night, citing government sources.

On Friday the government warned the public not to consume sunflower oil, after the discovery of a batch that had been contaminated with aliphatic hydrocarbons.

Despite the temporary warning, the Health Ministry said there was no risk to the public but urged caution until it could determine which brands were affected.

The swift response by Spanish health authorities was the most drastic within the European Union, causing alarm to spread to other countries such as The Netherlands and France, which had not issued similar warnings.

"We already know that the amount of aliphatic hydrocarbons [detected in the sunflower oil] is so minimal that there is no risk of chronic toxicity," said Health Minister Bernat Soria.

Contaminated rapeseed oil was blamed for the death of some 1,200 people in 1981 in Spain's worst food poisoning episode to date. Victims and their families are still claiming compensation and holding demonstrations 20 years after the incident.

[El Pais / ANP / Expatica]

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