ethylene oxide residual testing

Ethylene Oxide Residual Testing

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Ethylene oxide (EO) is an alkylating agent used to sterilise a variety of healthcare products, such as single-use medical products, through gas chromatography. EO leaves residue on whatever it is used due to the nature of the material or type of packaging used for products.

Ethylene oxide testing is the process by which chemical and technological methodology, such as nitrogen washes and extended aeration and heat treatment, is used to detect the presence of EO in these products.


Ethylene oxide residual analysis on products before they are sent for distribution in the market has several benefits, including the protection of your brand’s reputation, as well as the prevention of financial losses due to product recalls.

Ethylene oxide residual testing is vital to ensure the health of consumers, as exposure to ETO can cause several issues such as nausea, irritation to the eyes, and an increased risk of cancer.


Our TÜV SÜD laboratory in Gurgaon has Indian Oilseed and Produce Export Promotion Council (IOPEPC) approval for export testing of salmonella, residues of pesticides, including ethylene oxide (EO) in sesame seeds for exporting to EU countries.

With this expanded scope of accreditation, which is in accordance with ISO/IEC 17025: 2017, TUV SUD India (Bangalore and Gurugram) can now offer Chemical testing services to detect the presence of ethylene oxide (EO) as well as 2- Chloroethanol (ECH), in herbs, spices condiments, plant derivatives,

We offer to test food matrices for ETO contamination using the GC-MS technique in our laboratory.

The test capability for ETO in important food matrices is tabulated below:

 Food matrix  LOQ, mg /kg Ethylene oxide
 Oil Seeds (Sesame, Nuts, etc)  0.01 mg/kg
 Cereals, pulses and related processed foods  0.01 mg/kg
 Fruits, vegetables, and related processed products  0.01 mg/kg
 Spices, herbs and condiments (Ethylene oxide (as 2-chloroethanol)- ETO
 0.01 mg/kg
 Tea  0.01 mg/kg

As a global leader in analytical testing, at TÜV SÜD, we perform testing and analysis for a wide range of food products from all food groups, processed foods, raw materials, and relatively new products. Our comprehensive Ethylene oxide residual analysis services ensure the safety of your food products, resulting in lower risk levels and high consumer support.


Recently, due to the increasing incidences of food products being recalled due to the finding of traces of ethylene oxide, ethylene oxide testing in food has become vital. TÜV SÜD’s ethylene oxide testing services provide testing of EO through the process of gas chromatography.

The maximum residue level of 0,05 mg/kg is applicable for ethylene oxide in accordance with Regulation (EC) No 396/2005. If food sterilised with Ethylene Oxide is not aerated properly, ETO residue can remain as residue. If traces of EO are found in the products or devices, services such as nitrogen washes and extended aeration are used to combat this.


TÜV SÜD offers internationally recognised ethylene oxide testing services for all food products. Our global presence and state-of-the-art laboratories help you to rapidly achieve traceability and quality assurance across your entire supply chain.

Our specialist knowledge of regulations and testing expertise means that we ensure your products comply with international and national requirements, including Chinese, Japanese, US FDA, and EU standards.

TÜV SÜD’s collaboration with industry bodies and regulatory authorities allows for early warning of potential food scares and legal obligations. You can rely on our expert advice, testing schemes, on-site hygiene, and allergen checks, labelling advice, and traceability.



  • What is a risk of exposure to ethylene oxide?

    Exposure to ethylene oxide may cause symptoms such as:

    • headache
    • nausea
    • vomiting
    • drowsiness or weakness
    • diarrhoea
    • breathing difficulty
    • frostbite

    Therefore, ethylene oxide testing on products before distribution ensures the safety of the consumers.

  • What is ethylene oxide used for?

    Ethylene oxide is a chemical that is used as a pesticide, a sterilising agent, and to produce other chemicals, such as antifreeze. Ethylene oxide testing in food products is done to ensure health issues do not arise from these chemical processes.

  • What is ethylene oxide residue?

    Ethylene oxide residue is the result of using EO as a sterilisation agent on the devices being processed after processing is completed. A device may contain high levels of residue due to several reasons:

    • Material: Certain types of plastics have shown a high absorption rate when exposed to EO processing.
    • Packaging: Packaging with a minimal or breathable surface area will not allow.
    • Load Configuration: The volume, density, and overall configuration of the load on a pallet.

    Ethylene oxide residual testing is used to eliminate residue issues through methods including:

    • Nitrogen washes
    • Added heat
    • Extended aeration
    • Load configuration

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