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Corporate Overview

The Standard - October 2021

Ethylene Oxide and 2-Chloroethanol Analytical Standards

Ethylene oxide (EO) is a gas that has been used as a preservative and fumigant to control insects in the food industry, especially in the storage and transport of grain, seeds, and nuts. EO and one of its main byproducts, 2-chloroethanol, are considered toxic, leading to regulations of allowable exposure limits in foodstuffs and raw materials for foodstuffs.

In late 2020, EO contamination in sesame seed imports from India to the European Union (EU) were reported, prompting recalls for products containing the sesame seeds in several countries. EO has been banned within the EU since 1991. Since July 2021, all products in the EU containing EO above the limit of quantification (LOQ) of 0.1 mg/kg had to be withdrawn from the market. This decision was made by the European Committee, as outlined in the linked summary record:


Since the initial EO contamination was reported in sesame seeds in the EU, it has also been detected in locust bean gum and most recently in instant ramen imported from Korea.1,2 Allowable limits for EO and 2-chloroethanol vary slightly between countries, but these reported contaminations are prompting reviews of established limits and strict parameters for any new imports of known impacted products.

CIL has recently developed stable isotope-labeled and native 2-chloroethanol standard solutions and is in the process of developing EO standard solutions to assist researchers with their testing needs. Neat EO material is available but is restricted to costly truck or boat shipping methods. The formulated standards qualify as low-level exempt quantities and are not subject to shipping restrictions.

Featured Products

Catalog No. Description Concentration Amount
Ethylene oxide (13C2, 99%; D4, 98%)
(stabilized with 0.1% hydroquinone)
1000 µg/mL in methylene chloride Inquire
DLM-271-1.2 Ethylene oxide (D4, 98%) 
(stabilized with 0.1% hydroquinone)
1000 µg/mL in methylene chloride Inquire
Ethylene oxide (unlabeled) 
(stabilized with 0.1% hydroquinone)
1000 µg/mL in methylene chloride Inquire
DLM-1928-1.2 2-Chloroethanol (1,1,2,2-D4, 98%) 1000 µg/mL in methanol 1.2 mL
ULM-12311-1.2 2-Chloroethanol (unlabeled) 1000 µg/mL in methanol 1.2 mL

1Whitworth, J. 20 July 2021. Ethylene oxide scandal spreads to food additive. Food Safety News.

2Kim, J.H. 13 August 2021. Carcinogens found in Nongshim’s instant noodles exported to Europe. The Korea Times.

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