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Mineral Oil MOSH/MOAH
So far mineral oil was used as solvent in printing dyes for packaging materials. It accumulates due to recycled raw materials used for the production of paper or cardboard packaging. A further source for the contamination of food with mineral oil may be jute bags impregnated with mineral oil. But packaging is not the only source for a contamination of food with mineral oils. Already on the field harvested goods may be contaminated via the air with diesel soot loaded with lubricating oil. During food processing lubricating oils and mould release preparations on mineral oil basis are used which may migrate into the products.
Chemistry of Mineral Oil
Mineral oils are multi component mixtures of hydrocarbons. The major fraction consists of paraffin-like, usually branched and cyclic saturated structures (MOSH, mineral oil saturated hydrocarbons). The other fraction is a complex mixture of mainly alkylated mono-/polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, the mineral oil aromatic hydrocarbons (MOAH). Depending on their composition mineral oils have different characteristics and toxicities.
Migration from Packaging
Contamination of food by mineral oils may be brought about by migration via the vapour space or direct contact. Different factors like storage temperature, duration of storage/ contact, composition of the food and architecture of the packaging influence migration of mineral oil into food.
At the moment, there are no maximum limits for MOSH and MOAH in food according to EU legislation. After toxicological assessment of mineral oil in animals and humans, guideline values for migration were published on a national basis by the BfR (Federal Institute for Risk Assessment). According to the current BfR recommendation XXXVI (June 2013) the following guideline values apply for the migration from paper into food:
MOSH C10 – C16 12mg/kg
MOSH >c16 – C20 4 mg/kg
A transition of aromatic mineral oil hydrocarbons (MOAH C10 – C25) is considered critical by EFSA because of the mutagenic and cancerogenic potential. For the protection of consumers, these compounds should be absent in food. This is also considered in the currently published draft of the 22nd for the amendment of the German consumer goods regulation.
Together with other institutes, we have participated in an interlaboratory test for the determination of mineral oil hydrocarbons in different foods and a packaging. This ring test shows that analysis of MOSH/MOAH at GALAB is compatible. Our highly selective method coupled with our long experience in the analysis of various foodstuffs and packaging ensures a professional and competent evaluation of results. Even in difficult, complex matrices, we deliver safe results.
Influence of Endogenous n-Alkanes on the Determination of MOSH and MOAH in Food of Plant Origin
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