The European Commission has backed away from plans to block imports of Ukrainian sunflower oil after Kiev offered assurances that it will prevent shipments tainted with mineral oil from reaching the EU.

The Ukrainian government has given guarantees that it will implement controls to prevent oil contaminated by a hydrocarbon-oil from being exported to the EU, the European Commission said. 

Ukraine's pledge to tighten controls has caused the EU to back away from an immediate ban that it was prepared to put in place yesterday (22 May).

"We are still considering taking safeguard measures," a spokesperson for the EU commented.

EU food safety regulators were informed in April that a 40,000 tonne cargo of sunflower oil, shipped into France from Ukraine, was contaminated with hydrocarbon-oil.

The shipment had been split into seven batches for resale in Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, and France.

The EU was unable to provide further details as just-food went to press.