SGS Establishes Accredited Mineral Oil Hydrocarbons Analysis Service for Packaging

SGS has introduced an accredited analysis service to help manufacturers identify and prevent the harmful migration of mineral oil hydrocarbons from packaging to food product.

Rutherford, NJ, September 25, 2016 --( SGS has developed an accredited method of analyzing the presence of mineral oil hydrocarbons (MOH) in food and food packaging. Identified as potentially mutagenic and carcinogenic by the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA), MOH are used in packaging and as yet unregulated, though recommended limits do exist in Germany.

At a time when concerns over MOH are on the increase and international consumer groups and retailers are beginning to demand a zero tolerance approach to the problem, SGS’s accredited analytical method can identify and prevent the harmful migration of MOH from packaging to product.

Mineral oil hydrocarbons come in two forms:

- Mineral Oil Saturated Hydrocarbons (MOSH)
- Mineral Oil Aromatic Hydrocarbons (MOAH)

Of the two, MOAH is of particular concern following a 2012 report published by the EFSA suggesting they may be mutagenic and carcinogenic.

Legal Limits
There is currently no EU-wide legal limit for mineral oils in food, although draft documentation is under consideration. At the same time, both the EFSA and the German Federal Institute of Risk Assessment (BfR) recommend minimizing the transference of MOH from packaging to foodstuffs. The BfR reference values for MOSH fraction C10–C16 are 12 mg/kg, and for MOSH fraction C17–C20, 4 mg/kg.

MOH Identification
SGS’s Analysis of Mineral Oil Components in Food will help manufacturers identify MOH in food and separately measure MOSH and MOAH levels. In addition, SGS can offer state-of-the-art analysis using high performance liquid chromatography – gas chromatography/flame ionization detector (HPLC - GC/FID), and help manufacturers evaluate the results. Using this method, MOH can be quantified at levels as low as 2.0 mg/kg to 0.5 mg/kg depending on the matrix. Using this data, food operators can then instigate procedures to effectively minimize the possibility of MOH migration.

Adhesives and Inks
Mineral oils are used in packaging adhesives and printing inks, as well as in the manufacturing process. Research has shown that foods with a high surface area, high fat content, or that are packaged in recycled cartons, present the highest opportunity for contamination. Research has also shown that the introduction of a physical barrier, for example a polyethylene or paper bag, may not provide reliable protection against this migration and so food operators are now advised to seek new methods to combat this contamination.

SGS Food Testing Services
With a comprehensive range of independent inspection, testing, training, certification and advisory services specific for the food sector, we help companies worldwide to monitor and validate safety, quality and sustainability. Our food testing services cover multiple chemical, microbiological, physical and sensory examinations to analyze the safety and quality of food. Learn more about SGS's Food Safety Solutions [link to: ]

For further information contact:

SGS Institut Fresenius GmbH
Tegeler Weg 33
D-10589 Berlin
t +49 30 34607 - 700
f +49 30 34607 - 710

About SGS
SGS is the world’s leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company. SGS is recognized as the global benchmark for quality and integrity. With more than 85,000 employees, SGS operates a network of over 1,800 offices and laboratories around the world.
Jennifer Buckley
+1 973 461 1498