Petition on mineral oil contamination gathers 48,500 signatures

The pan-European pressure group FoodWatch has successfully accumulated more than 48,500 signatures for a new petition calling on the European Commission to take a tougher line on mineral oil aromatic hydrocarbons (MOAHs).

Signatories automatically have their names attached to emails addressed to the European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Vytenis Andriukaitis.

These notifications reference the opinion of the European Food Safety Agency (Efsa) that mineral oil components ‘may be carcinogenic and mutagenic. They go on to highlight the particular problem associated with migration into food of MOAHs from packaging made of recycled paper and paperboard.

The petition concludes with a request that ‘the most dangerous aromatic mineral oils – should simply be banned’ Industry has been aware of this issue since it was brought to light in 2010 by Swiss researchers from the Official Food Control Authority of the Canton of Zurich.

This has prompted a number of solutions from ink suppliers, however because recycled paper often contains high volumes of newspapers – which are still printed with mineral oil-based inks – the risk remains. Other members of the food packaging industry have developed alternative solutions – like the Wentopro bag-in-box barrier from the German division of Clondalkin).

Christian Claes, business development director at Clondalkin Flexible Packaging Wentus, comments: ‘We very much welcome this new campaign from FoodWatch.

‘This is an issue that we have worked hard to address and the development of the Wentopro-barrier film offers food manufacturers reassurance that their products are protected against the migration of these harmful mineral oils into their food products.’

This article comes from Food Contact World, which provides exclusive news and analysis on developments in digital print trends, markets, and technologies.