EFSA has just updated its risk assessment of mineral oil hydrocarbons (MOH) in food. It has also made available an infographic summarizing this publication.
(infographic in English: https://www.efsa.europa.eu/sites/default/files/2023-09/infographic-moh-in-food_0.pdf
Infographic in Spanish: https://www.efsa.europa.eu/sites/default/files/2023-09/infographic-moh-in-food-es.pdf
Infographic in Italian: https://www.efsa.europa.eu/sites/default/files/2023-09/infographic-moh-in-food-it.pdf )
Mineral oil hydrocarbons (MOH) are made up of saturated hydrocarbons (MOSH) and aromatic hydrocarbons (MOAH). They are derived mainly from crude oil, but also from coal, gas and biomass.
The presence of mineral oils in foodstuffs has several sources: environmental contamination, the use of lubricants for machinery, release agents, processing aids, additives for human or animal consumption and migration from materials in contact with food.
The foodstuffs most at risk are vegetable oils, cereals and cereal-based products, baby foods and chocolate and chocolate-based products. MOH can also be found in dairy products, potato chips, ready-to-eat meals/salads, legumes, nuts, oilseeds, spices and canned fish.
MOSH accumulates in the liver and lymphoid system, but poses no health risk at current levels of dietary exposure.
One type of MOAH is said to be genotoxic and could cause cancer.
The European Commission is considering establishing maximum levels of MOH in food products. Currently, EU member states have agreed to withdraw and if necessary, recall products from the market when the sum of MOAH concentrations in foodstuffs is equal to or greater than the following maximum limits of quantification:
Phytocontrol laboratory can analyze MOSH/MOAH from C10 to C50, with limits of quantification of 0.2 mg/kg to 1 mg/kg depending on the matrix, under COFRAC accreditation.
You can consult our COFRAC technical appendix N°1-1904 available in your customer area or on the COFRAC website.
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