EC Issues Recommendation on Mineral Oil Monitoring

March 16, 2017

The European Commission (EC) has adopted Recommendation (EU) 2017/84 on the monitoring of mineral oil hydrocarbons (MOHs) in food and in materials and articles intended to come into contact with food. The Recommendation directs Member States—with the active involvement of industry—to monitor the presence of MOHs during 2017 and 2018 in specific categories of food products, as well as those food-contact materials used to hold such products.

Noting that a guidance document on monitoring and testing for MOHs does not currently exist, the Recommendation states that Member States should collaborate with European Union Reference Laboratories (EU-RL) to jointly develop a procedure identifying how the monitoring should be conducted, in order to generate reliable and comparable results. The Recommendation states that consideration should be given monitoring to the level of MOH in both food and from food-contact materials for pre-packaged food, if the packaging is the suspected source of detected MOHs.

With respect to MOHs that are detected in or originate from food-contact materials, the Recommendation advises Member States to collect data on the food-contact materials—such as the type and composition of the packaging material, if there is a functional barrier, and the production and processing methods used to produce the food-contact materials. Finally, Member States, food business operators, manufacturers, processors, distributors of food contact-materials, and other interested parties should submit the monitoring data to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).