On March 7, 2017 the European Food Safety Authority’s (EFSA) Panel on Food Contact Materials, Enzymes, Flavourings and Processing Aids (CEP Panel) published a scientific opinion on the safety of polyethyelene terephthalate (PET) recycling process ‘Jász‐Plasztik,’ based on Vacurema Prime technology.
The process starts with “hot caustic washed and dried . . . PET flakes originating from collected post-consumer PET containers and containing no more than 5% PET from non-food applications.” The material is “heated in a batch reactor under vacuum and then heated in a continuous reactor under vacuum before being extruded into pellets.”
The Panel identified “the decontamination in the batch reactors (step 2) and in the continuous reactor (step 3) . . . [as] the critical steps that determine the decontamination efficiency of the process,” with crucial operating parameters being “temperature, pressure and residence time.” The decontamination test provided by the applicant “demonstrated that this recycling process is able to ensure that the level of migration of potential unknown contaminants into food is below the conservatively modelled migration of 0.1 µg/kg food.”
Based on this, the Panel “concluded that the recycled PET obtained from this process when used up to 100% for the manufacture of materials and articles for contact with all types of foodstuffs for long-term storage at room temperature, with or without hotfill, is not considered of safety concern.” Trays made of thus recycled PET should not be used in microwave or conventional ovens, because “such use is not covered by this evaluation.”
EFSA (2019). “Safety assessment of the process ‘Jász‐Plasztik’, based on Vacurema Prime technology, used to recycle post‐consumer PET into food contact materials.” EFSA Journal 17:e05627