With reporting from Neha Rashid and Riham Sheble
Kinder chocolate in Qatar is being tested to ensure it’s safe for consumption following concerns that some bars may contain a cancer-causing substance, local authorities have said.
However, they have not been pulled off the shelves of any supermarkets yet.
German consumer rights group Foodwatch said this week that it had found mineral oil aromatic hydrocarbons (MOAHs) in Kinder Riegel bars, which are manufactured by Italian confectionery company Ferrero.
In research published in 2012, the European Food Safety Authority said that MOAHs “may be mutagenic (damaging to the human genome) and carcinogenic, and therefore of potential concern.”
“MOAHs can cause cancer and damage the human genome. Children are particularly at risk” Foodwatch said in a statement on its website.
However, the Association of the German Confectionary Industry has countered by saying that the levels of MOAHs found in the Kinder chocolate bars could “be consumed without concern.”
And a spokesperson for Ferrero told MailOnline in a written statement, “The discussion about mineral oil components (MOSH/MOAH) in foods is not new and affects a large variety of foods from the most different categories.”
Tests in Qatar
Foodwatch has called on Kinder to withdraw Riegel bars from the market, but so far the company has refused to do so.
Reacting to concerns from residents, however, Qatar’s Ministry for Economy and Commerce (MEC) said that it has sent sent samples of Kinder chocolate to Ministry of Health laboratories for testing.
تم سحب كميات وارسالها للفحص لدى وزارة الصحة، شكرا لحرصكم وتواصلكم أخت بثينة.
— وزارة التجارة والصناعة (@MOCIQatar) July 8, 2016
Yesterday, @Bothina_ said: “Germany has ordered the recall of Kinder chocolate due to dangerous levels of chemical materials present in it. We hope this issue will be investigated.”
And the MEC responded, “Amounts have been withdrawn for inspection at the Ministry of Health for confirmation. Thank you for your keenness and communication.”
Pending the test results, the chocolate remains on store shelves, and could be found at local Al Meera and Carrefour branches this morning. Monoprix also told Doha News the products remain in stock.
Foodwatch said it also found the minerals in two other bars: Lindt’s Fioretto Nougat Minis and Sun Rice Classic Schokohappen, another bar widely sold in Germany.
The group, which has called for zero tolerance on MOAHs in food, said it had tested a total of 20 chocolate bars and bags of chips in Germany to look for the harmful minerals.
According to Foodwatch, MOAHs often find their way into foods via packaging that has been treated with mineral oils.
In a response issued to the UK’s Daily Mail, Ferrero said that MOAHs “exist nearly everywhere” and removing them from food required a “joint effort.”
“As this matter impacts on several industries, and also due to the topic’s complexity, the joint effort of all food supply chain stakeholders is required, including the commodity trade in and outside Europe.
At Ferrero, together with all our supply chain partners, we are working on technical solutions to minimise these omnipresent substances as much as possible and to avoid transfer and migration to food.”