On May 8, 2019, the European Food Safety Authority’s (EFSA) Panel on Food Contact Materials, Enzymes, Flavourings and Processing Aids (CEP Panel) published two scientific opinions on the safety of two processes for recycling of post-consumer polyethylene terephthalate (PET), “Alimpet, based on EREMA MPR [multi-purpose reactor] B2B technology,” and “Texplast, based on EREMA Advanced technology.”
Both processes use as input “washed and dried” PET flakes “originating from collected post-consumer PET containers” with “no more than 5% PET from non-food consumer applications.” The flakes are then treated in a “continuous reactor under vacuum and high temperature.” The treatment in the reactor is a “critical step that determines the decontamination efficiency of the process,” with “temperature, pressure and residence time” being the most critical operating parameters controlling its performance, CEP Panel concluded. Decontamination tests provided for each of the two processes demonstrated their ability “to ensure that the level of migration of potential unknown contaminants is below a conservatively modeled migration of 0.1 µg/kg food, derived from the exposure scenario for infants.” Therefore, CEP Panel concluded that recycled PET obtained from Alimpet or Texplast processes “is not of safety concern when used to manufacture articles intended for food contact applications if it is produced in compliance with the conditions specified in the conclusion of this opinion.” Since the assessment did not cover the use in “microwave and conventional ovens,” recycled PET articles should not be used in these applications.
EFSA CEP Panel (2019). “Safety assessment of the process Alimpet, based on EREMA MPR B2B technology, used to recycle post-consumer PET into food contact materials.” EFSA Journal 17:305677.
EFSA CEP Panel (2019). “Safety assessment of the process Texplast, based on EREMA Advanced technology, used to recycled post-consumer PET into food contact materials.” EFSA Journal 17:e05678.