The JRC released a guidance document on how to monitor mineral oil hydrocarbons in food and food contact materials. It covers the steps from sampling via analysis to reporting.
It is directed to food inspectors, official control laboratories, industries and third-party laboratories checking such products.
Mineral oil hydrocarbons are a complex mixture of substances which
- originate from crude mineral oils or
- are produced from coal, natural gas or biomass through Fischer-Tropsch synthesis.
They may contaminate food via several routes from contact with machines during harvesting to contact with recycled paper and board used as packaging.
The guidance focusses on the saturated hydrocarbon fraction and the aromatic hydrocarbon fraction of mineral oil. These fractions may indeed raise potential human health concerns according to an EFSA opinion of 2012.
In order to estimate the human exposure to these two fractions of mineral oil hydrocarbons, harmonised analytical approaches are necessary. This guidance harmonises:
1) the sampling by paying attention to how contamination of the sample by mineral oil hydrocarbons can be prevented,
2) the analysis by defining the techniques to be used and the performance criteria to be reached,
3) the reporting of results by giving instructions on what relevant information should be reported next to the analytical result.
Read more in:
S. Bratinova and E. Hoekstra (Eds.): Guidance on sampling, analysis and data reporting for the monitoring of mineral oil hydrocarbons in food and food contact materials, JRC Technical Report EUR 296666 EN (2019)
JRC Technical Report:
- Publication date
- 15 April 2019