Analysis of mineral oil in food: results of a Belgian market survey. - GreenMedInfo Summary
Analysis of mineral oil in food: results of a Belgian market survey.
Food Addit Contam Part A Chem Anal Control Expo Risk Assess. 2018 Sep 10:1-14. Epub 2018 Sep 10. PMID: 30199335
Annelies Van Heyst
Recently, migration of mineral oil components from food contact materials into various foods has been reported. The analysis of mineral oil in food is complicated since it consists of mineral oil saturated hydrocarbons (MOSH) comprising a complex mixture of linear, branched and cyclic compounds and variable amounts of mineral oil aromatic hydrocarbons (MOAH), mainly alkylated. Both MOSH and MOAH form 'humps' of unresolved peaks in the chromatograms with the same range of volatility. Since these two fractions have a different toxicological relevance, it is important to quantify them separately. Occurrence data on mineral oil are available only for a limited number of food groups and only from few countries. In Belgium, data on the contamination of food by mineral oil are lacking. In this contribution, an in-house validated online combination of liquid chromatography with gas chromatography (LC-GC) with flame ionisation detection (FID) was used for the quantification of MOSH and MOAH. Totally, 217 packed food samples were selected using a well-defined sampling strategy that targeted food categories which are highly consumed and categories suspected to contain mineral oil. For 19 samples, the method was not applicable. For the 198 remaining samples, MOSH was detected in 142 samples with concentrations up to 84.82 mg kg. For the MOAH fraction, there are 175 samples with a concentration below the limits of quantification (LOQ), while 23 samples had a higher concentration ranging from 0.6 to 2.24 mg kg. Finally, these results were compared with the action thresholds as proposed by the Scientific Committee (SciCom) of the Belgian Food Safety Agency (FAVV-AFSCA). Only one sample exceeded the threshold for MOSH, while the threshold for MOAH was exceeded in 23 samples. For the samples exceeding the action threshold, further investigation is needed to identify the contamination source.