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Migration of Mineral Oil into Noodles from Recycled Fibres in the Paperboard Box and the Corrugated Board Transport Box as well as from Printing Inks: A Case Study


K. Grob, Official Food Control Authority of the Canton of Zürich P.O. Box, CH-8032 Zurich, Switzerland.



From the toxicological evaluation of mineral oils as used in offset printing inks by the Joint Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations/World Health Organization Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA), a specific migration limit of 0.6 mg/kg in food can be derived. Experimental packs for taglioline (fine noodles) were investigated, aiming at respecting this limit. This ended with four conclusions. First, during the 65 day test (shelf life of 2 years), the transport box of corrugated board contaminated the bottom packs in the box with 6.1 mg/kg mineral oil saturated hydrocarbons (MOSH) and had the potential of contaminating all the 10 packs on average at about 10 mg/kg. Second, the migration from an improved recycled paperboard (five times less mineral oil than average) still amounted to 4.9 mg/kg, indicating that optimization of recycling is not promising to respect the 0.6 mg/kg limit. Third, a printing ink containing 3 g/kg MOSH (about 100 times less than conventional offset inks) still contaminated the taglioline with 0.6 mg/kg MOSH. Finally, the taglioline were contaminated with 2.5 mg/kg MOSH already before packing, illustrating that there are other sources of mineral oil violating the 0.6 mg/kg limit. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.