On April 10, 2017 the non-profit organization Foodwatch published a press release and a position paper regarding the new draft version of the 22nd ordinance amending the Consumer Goods Ordinance (“mineral oil ordinance”) as presented by the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) in March 2017 (FPF reported). The ordinance includes measures to reduce the migration of mineral oils from recycled paper and board used in contact with food. Foodwatch deems the new draft ordinance insufficient to protect consumers from food contaminated with mineral oil saturated hydrocarbons (MOSH) and mineral oil aromatic hydrocarbons (MOAH). The organization criticizes the following points:
1) Functional barriers are defined as effective if they ensure compliance with a specific migration limit (SML) of 0.5 mg/kg food for MOAH. However, considering only MOAH in the definition disregards the migration of MOSH and various other substances that can potentially harm health. Also, an SML of 0.5 mg/kg food is too high compared with the toxicological properties of MOAH and does not reflect the current analytically feasible detection limit.
2) Functional barriers are only mandatory for paper and board packaging made from recycled materials. Virgin paper and board packaging as well as recycled packaging with low MOAH-content are exempted from the barrier requirement. However, this disregards the possibility of cross contamination, e.g. from secondary packaging, as well as migration of other chemicals of concern such as MOSH.
3) The draft ordinance only considers migration of mineral oils from recycled paper and board packaging. However, mineral oil contamination of food can also occur during production processes.
To effectively protect consumers from MOSH and MOAH, Foodwatch demands:
1) A stronger definition of functional barriers considering migration of MOAH, MOSH and other chemicals of concern that can migrate from paper and board packaging. The SML for MOAH should be lowered to 0.15 mg/kg food.
2) Mandatory functional barriers for all paper and board food packaging (including virgin materials).
3) Strict limit levels for MOSH and MOAH in food in order to reduce mineral oil contamination from sources other than packaging, such as production processes.
Foodwatch (April 10, 2017). “Neuer Gesetzentwurf schützt nicht vor Gesundheitsrisiko.” (in German)
Foodwatch (April 10, 2017). “Gefährliche Mineralöle in Lebensmitteln: Neuer Gesetzentwurf von Bundesernährungsminister Schmidt schützt Verbraucher nicht vor Gesundheitsrisiko.” (in German)
Foodwatch (April 6, 2017). “Position paper on the 22nd ordinance amending the German Consumer Goods Ordinance (“mineral oil ordinance”), draft released on 24 February 2017 by the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL).” (pdf)
Foodwatch (April 6, 2017). “Stellungnahme zur 22. Verordnung zur Änderung der Bedarfsgegenständeverordnung („Mineralölverordnung“), Entwurf des Bundesministeriums für Ernährung und Landwirtschaft (BMEL) vom 24.02.2017.” (pdf; in German)