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Migration of mineral oil from food packaging to food


Annelies Van Heyst
AMGC, Vrije Universiteit Brussel

ABSTRACT: Researchers reported presence of mineral oil in various food. Mineral oil can enter the food via different routes: (i) certain mineral oils are allowed as additive (e.g. E905a), (ii) as a pollutant from atmospheric precipitation or aquatic pollution, (iii) due to processing of food (e.g. use of machine oils and anti-dusting products) and (iv) as a residue coming from ingredients from pesticides or components from printing inks on paper and board packaging.
In 2013, the European Food Safety Authority published a scientific opinion, thereby indicating that occurrence data on mineral oil are only available for a limited number of food groups and from few countries. In Belgium, data on the contamination of food by mineral oil were lacking. Another point of concern is that the potential health effects related to the contamination of the food chain by mineral oil are largely unknown.
Within this research, I evaluate the presence of mineral oil in food sold on the Belgian market and subsequently the exposure of the Belgian population. Afterwards, I investigated the hazards associated with mineral oil in terms of genotoxicity and endocrine activity. The data obtained within the project will be used to support the Belgian authorities in the implementation of new rules to minimize the exposure to mineral oil and prevent health issues caused by mineral oil.