Back in August 2019, the Eurasian Union adopted a decision that regulated the permissible level of glycidyl ethers in the Technical Regulations "On Food Safety" of the EEC countries. In practice, this solution has not yet been applied. The reason is that, for some unknown reason, its implementation was hampered by the Minister for Technical Regulation of the Eurasian Economic Commission from the Republic of Belarus Viktor Nazarenko. This will allow oil and fat companies to sell carcinogenic palm oil for another five years. Despite the scandal with the ban of "Alenka" in Europe, Nazarenko continues to stand his ground. Belarus, although considered an agrarian power, is quite loyal to palm oil; local factories are actively switching from butter to palm oil. For example, according to information from the Belarusian media, the Minsk Margarine Plant purchased about 600 tons of "palm". Meanwhile, representatives of three countries - members of the Eurasian Economic Union - the Russian Federation, the Republic of Kazakhstan and the Republic of Belarus, filed a statement with the Prosecutor General's Offices of their countries, accusing the EEC Minister for Technical Regulation Viktor Nazarenko of causing harm to the life and health of citizens.
“Technical regulations are adopted to protect the life or health of citizens. Those responsible for causing harm to the life and health of citizens must be punished, ”said Igor Bolbat, head of the Russian Consumer Association for the Krasnoyarsk Territory.
In the documents provided by NI, the Consumer Association states: “Glycidyl ethers are found in all products containing vegetable oils and fats. They cause: mesothelioma; fibroadenomas of the breast; gliomas of the brain; adenomas and carcinomas of the follicular cells of the thyroid gland; carcinomas of the stomach and intestines; skin adenomas and adenocarcinomas of the sebaceous glands and basal cell tumors; leukemia. The most dire consequences of the consumption of foods with glycidyl ethers are DNA mutations in the human body. "
Recall: the norms for the content of the strongest carcinogens - glycidyl ethers in products on the territory of the countries of the Customs Union, should be regulated by a single technical regulation. It is being developed by the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC), a permanent body of the Customs Union and the Eurasian Economic Union. Since 2015, it has included Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan. Technical regulations for products in these countries are uniform. Thus, Russia found itself shackled by its obligations in the EAEC. “The executors of this decision, under pressure from the lobby of manufacturers, are trying to delay its adoption by all possible means,” Igor Bolbat told NI .
Not so long ago, the chairman of the public organization "Association of Consumers of Russia" in the Krasnoyarsk Territory, Igor Bolbat, took an extraordinary step: his organization made a memorial clock for a member of the board, Minister for Technical Regulation of the Eurasian Economic Commission from the Republic of Belarus, Viktor Nazarenko , which reminds that every 2 minutes people die of cancer. “Viktor Vladimirovich for 15 months does not comply with the decision of the EEC Board No. 132 on the prohibition of the import and production of food products and raw materials with glycidyl ethers, which are the main cause of oncological diseases, which was proved by studies of the European Food Safety Agency EFSA and the International Agency for the study of cancer, ”said Igor Bolbat.
In April of this year, Rosstat published statistics on mortality from cancer for 2019. This figure was 295.5 thousand people, which is 6.7 thousand more than in the previous 2018. The largest increase in mortality from cancer, according to Rosstat, is observed in the Nizhny Novgorod region, Krasnoyarsk Territory and St. Petersburg.
The growth in the number of oncological diseases is comparable to the growth in the supply of palm oil to Russia, which we add to a variety of products - sausages, margarine, sour cream and cheese products, yoghurts, confectionery, baked goods. It is beneficial for manufacturers to use cheap vegetable fat. There are technologies that allow palm oil to be purified from glycidyl ethers. However, there are no such facilities in Russia today. Russia buys palm oil from Indonesia and Malaysia, where there are no technologies for its purification yet. Its use in the food industry is prohibited. But they still use it: vegetable fats are cheaper.
In Europe, back in 2016, the necessary regulations were established for the content of glycidyl ethers, calculating how much the body can process without harm to itself. This is 1 mg / kg. Now, refined and processed edible palm oil, certified free of glycidyl ethers, is now entering European stores. Manufacturers in Europe have gone to the expense and financial costs of setting special temperature regimes in order to minimize the content of glycidyl ethers in food. And on the shelves of Russia continue to receive products with cheap, technical oil. By the way, the same oil in Russia is used for food production and for combustible materials, varnishes, fuel ...
"Palm Lobby" in Russia.
The Fat and Oil Union of Russia assures that the harm of glycidyl ethers is a controversial issue. Oleksiy Udovenko, who was attracted there as an expert, gives the following arguments: “You need to understand that the European Union has introduced restrictions on the content of certain contaminants in vegetable oils and food products, but there is no question of any prohibition. In general, restrictions are a completely normal situation associated with the development of our understanding of the nature of the impact of various factors on human health. There is nothing strange in this. " This is followed by argumentation in an optimistic spirit: “The identified contaminants can pose a certain threat, the degree of which we are all quite familiar with. We all eat red meat, someone loves coffee, and someone has a shift work schedule. All this is undesirable, but you yourself understand: life in a big city with so much exhaust gases is already a health hazard. Going wild with palm oil is like being afraid to drink water, ”concludes Alexey Udovenko, an expert at the Russian Fat and Oil Union . At the same time, the Oil and Fat Union is silent, which attracts for comments a person who openly lobbies for the interests of the "palm lobby": A. Udovenko is the regional representative of the Malaysian Council of Palm Oil Producers (MPOC) in Moscow . In his comments, for example, he calls oil with glycidyl ethers "a great frying medium . "
On the prospects for limiting the import of palm oil from Malaysia, the Russian Fat and Oil Union reports: “Malaysia, as a country that is sensitive to product quality, safety and consumer health, was the first to undertake obligations to completely get rid of these contaminants by the end of 2022. Moreover, by the end of 2021, part of Malaysia's industry will already switch to new quality standards. "
But Malaysia is far away, and we live in Russia. Therefore, the modernization of the industry should be carried out in our country too. These tasks were set long ago. However, in practice, everything is limited to promises and assurances. Nevertheless, the Oil and Fat Union of Russia admits: “Our sunflower oil, according to Ekaterina Nesterova, Director for Technical Regulation of the Oil and Fat Union of Russia, does not meet the norm for glycidyl ethers. Should be 1 mg / kg, but this figure is exceeded by 30%. Therefore, the same work on industrial modernization that is being done in Malaysia must be done in Russia. It certainly takes time. "
Is the ban on glycidyl ethers a political issue?
How bad is palm oil for the body? Scientists differ on this point, but they can be generalized.
“There have been no serious studies on this issue in our country. Palm oil is believed to be a potential carcinogen. But it is not possible to verify this, - said to "NI" the candidate of medical sciences, the chief freelance specialist-oncologist of the Ministry of Health of Russia in the Central Federal District Maxim Rykov. - For this it is necessary to select two groups of people. One will consume exclusively safe products, will not consume alcohol, alcohol, and lead a healthy lifestyle. The diet of the other group should include foods with glycidyl ethers. Who will agree to this? As for the effect of trans fats on the body, such experiments were actually carried out in Europe on mice. Yes, trans fats can cause cancer in mice. We have not conducted such experiments, it is quite expensive. The solution is to indicate on the package: the product contains palm oil. They wanted to pass this at the legislative level, but the issue remained unresolved. In general, the question of the use of palm oil and the use of products that contain it, lies rather in the social or even political plane. Producers use cheap palm oil to boost their income. And the population, which has no money, buys cheap, poor quality products with palm oil, ”said oncologist Maxim Rykov .
Another thing is surprising. The leadership of the country is aware of the importance of the problem. Vitaly Zinchenko , Director of Technical Regulation of the Kremlin Suppliers Guild , said that the time had come to put an end to dangerous supplies: “I think it was no coincidence that at a meeting of the EEC Supreme Council in May this year, Vladimir Putin raised the issue of the responsibility of EEC officials for the implementation of their decisions. I hope that officials will hear this signal and that the corresponding standard will finally be approved. "
But so far, apparently, the struggle to limit the use of glycidyl ethers in the production of products is carried out mainly by public organizations. As it became known to "NI", the chairman of the Association of Consumers of Russia Natalia Sergeeva sent an appeal to the Chairman of the Board of the Eurasian Economic Commission Mikhail Myasnikovich. It says: “The Association of Consumers of Russia, in the light of ensuring consumer safety of citizens, considers it expedient in December 2020 to hold a discussion with the participation of interested parties on introducing the standardization of the permissible level of glycidyl esters of fatty acids into the technical regulations of the Customs Union, following which an official statement should be published. in the future, keep under your control the raised topic and inform state authorities, the general public and the media about the work in this direction . "
Russia has adopted a state program to combat cancer. But despite the allocation of huge budget funds for these purposes, the number of deaths from cancer continues to grow. Now doctors detect about 600 thousand cases of cancer per year, and this figure is constantly increasing. In 2008, 16.6 thousand deaths were recorded a year ... These figures are confirmed by the chief oncologist of the Russian Ministry of Health, Andrei Kaprin . Another alarming fact suggests that oncology in the country is noticeably "younger". Every year, about thirty thousand children with cancer are treated in the country's dispensaries. The worst thing is that products with glycidol are supplied to schools and kindergartens. And deaths from cancer are gathering ominous pace.
On the scales is the health of the nation and the income of producers. Europe made its choice long ago. What will outweigh in Russia?