Indian guar gum imports 'accepted' in EU

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Guar gum, European union

Fears over dioxin levels in guar gum supplies from India are not
stopping the shipping of consignments, according to reports from
India.

According to reports in The Hindu Business Line​ publication, the problem of higher dioxin levels in guar gum no longer exists, and Indian consignments are again being accepted by the EU. Jeewan Gandhi, president of Indian Guar Gum Manufacturers Association, told The Hindu Business Line​: "Our consignments are tested by Vimta Labs in Hyderabad and based on its certification, consignments are being accepted."​ In August, EU member states were reportedly taking action over the possibility of food products contaminated by guar gum containing high dioxin levels, after the European Commission informed member states of fears about dioxin levels in guar gum. Concerns were aroused after it was discovered a shipment of guar gum from an undisclosed Indian supplier to Switzerland's Unipektin contained between 12 and 156 pictograms of dioxin per gram of fat - way over the EU accepted level of one to six pictograms. Unipektin has since identified the supplier as India Glycols Ltd, and issued a statement recently indicating that investigations into the contamination had not yet identified the cause. "Further findings are hoped from a planned investigation by a delegation of the EU Commission,"​ says the Unipektin statement. The EC delegation's Indian visit is scheduled to start at the end of this week - October 5 to 7. Toxic dioxins are formed as by-products of industrial processes involving chlorine, such as pesticide manufacturing and waste incineration. They have been linked to cancer, reproductive problems and birth defects, and immune disorders. But Unipektin has stated that since guar gum is highly diluted in food products, "there is no acute health risk for consumers."​ Just as concerns over dioxin appear to be dispersing, Unipektin announced that increased PCP content has been found in guar gum from another supplier. "That guar gum delivery was, however, discovered and blocked by the authorities prior to its use, thanks to our strengthened control measures,"​ stated the company. Guar gum, a water-soluble dietary fibre, is obtained from the seeds of the guar plant found on the Indian sub-continent and the US. Because of its high viscosity, the gum can be hydrolysed so that it can be used in quantities that infer a physiological effect, and is widely used in this form in beverages.

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