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Is mineral oil from recycled paper a threat to food safety?

As German risk assessors find cause for concern where substance migration from recycled paper is involved in food packaging, ink users are advised to look for alternatives.

German risk assessors using new methods of analyzing the migration of mineral oils from recycled paperboard and corrugated into food have raised some food safety concerns. Further analysis of the findings is underway.

The mineral oil in question is thought to come from inks used in printing newspapers. Germany’s Federal Institute for Risk Assessment recommended that if a food product has high surface contact with paperboard packaging—think rice and couscous, for example--an inner bag might be advisable to prevent substance migration into the food.

Teresa Presas, managing director of the Confederation of European Paper Industries, told, “The paper industry is working closely with all relevant authorities and stakeholders along the value chain, which includes printing ink makers, the printing and publishing industries, and the packaging industry, and also the food industry and retail sector. We are all working hard on finding the best solution for this concern.”

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