Mineral Oil Hydrocarbons: Edible oil industry in the field of tension between mitigation, high analytical deviations of mineral oil determination, potential toxicology and discussion on maximum residue levels
The edible oil industry is more and more confronted on the one hand with high deviations of the analysis results of mineral oil contamination of oils and fats and on the other hand with the lack of clarity regarding the potential carcinogenicity of mineral oil components (e.g. 3-7 poly aromatic compounds) and the associated discussions on possible legal limits. In the field of analytics there has already been major progress towards lower detection and determination limits. However, there are no official methods that are applicable below 10 mg/kg. For some products, however, discussions are taking place on possible guide or limit values below 10 mg/kg. Results of accredited proficiency tests for oils and fats in recent years show that below 10 mg/kg accepted deviations can be up to 99% to pass the proficiency test. Below 5 mg/kg often not even an evaluation can take place, because on the one hand less results were available and on the other hand the deviations exceeded 99%. This fact and lack of clarity regarding the carcinogenicity of mineral oil components makes it difficult for the edible oil industry and authorities to agree on an action limit or maximum residue level. This presentation describes the progress in mineral oil analysis in recent years, the available toxicological data plus already existing orientation values of some European countries and discusses mitigation strategies.