Analytical survey of mineral oil hydrocarbons in food and food packaging

(August 2018)

In 2014, FSANZ commissioned a survey to investigate the potential migration of certain mineral oil hydrocarbons from food packaging into foods.

Mineral oil hydrocarbons are organic chemicals often used in printing inks and adhesives and are an approved food processing aid in the Food Standards Code.

We selected 61 packaging samples and 56 food samples (including their associated packaging) for analysis from a range of common foods common (pasta, cereals, sugar, packet powders and cake mixes, and frozen items such as fish and chicken).

We looked at two common types of hydrocarbons in food packaging; mineral oil aromatic hydrocarbons and mineral oil saturated hydrocarbons.

Key findings

Overall the findings show that the levels of mineral oil hydrocarbons in the Australian food supply due to migration from food packaging is very low and unlikely to be a public health and safety concern.

While mineral oil hydrocarbons were detected in all food packaging samples, the vast majority of foods (90 percent) had no detections of mineral oil hyrdrocarbons with only four samples showing detections for hydrocarbons.

Read the survey (pdf 928kb)  |  (word 500kb)

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