On November 15, 2019, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) published a technical report on the possible risk of infant formula contaminated by mineral oil aromatic hydrocarbons (MOAH). The analysis made use of data provided by the two member states Austria and Germany as well as by a manufacturer of infant formula. Additionally, it included data on the detection of MOAH in infant formula in France, Germany, and the Netherlands which was published in 2015 by consumer organization Foodwatch (FPF reported). EFSA was mandated to perform the rapid risk assessment of health risks related to MOAH, which can contain genotoxic and carcinogenic 3-7 ring polycyclic aromatic compounds (PAC).
The assessment found that levels of quantifiable MOAH in the samples ranged “from 50% of detection in the samples tested by Foodwatch to lack of detection in the three samples analyzed by the German authorities.” Overall, quantified levels were in the range of 0.2-3 mg/kg, with some uncertainty due to the complex analytical methods required. Exposure levels “were estimated for infants, ranging from 0.8 to 44.6 and from 1.7 to 78.8 µg/kg body weight per day for average and 95th percentile of exposure, respectively.” However, the study reported that “no information on the absence of 3-7 PAC in the samples analyzed was made available to EFSA, and therefore the estimated exposure for infants and toddlers is of possible concern for human health.” Further sample analysis is ongoing, and the assessment may be updated with the availability of additional data.
EFSA (November 15, 2019). “Rapid risk assessment on the possible risk for public health due to the contamination of infant formula and follow-on formula by mineral oil aromatic hydrocarbons (MOAH).” (pdf)