EFSA publishes first opinions on PET recycling process safety

By Mark Astley

- Last updated on GMT

EFSA publishes opinions on PET recycling process safety
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has published its first three scientific opinions on the safety of processes to recycle polyethylene terephthalate (PET) for use in food contact materials.

EFSA’s Panel on Food Contact Materials, Enzymes, Flavourings and Processing Aids (CEF) assessed a total of 10 PET recycling processes, which were grouped according to recycling technology.

LuxPET, Jayplas, PolyQuest and CIER, which are based on VACUREMA Prime technology, are not considered a safety concern by EFSA. The decontamination efficiency of Preformia, STF, MPTS, PET to PET and Eco Plastic, which are all based on the same Starlinger IV+ technology, was also demonstrated by challenge tests.

The PETUK SSP recycling process was also judged to be sufficient in terms of decontamination.

The opinions are the first of a series that will be issued by EFSA over the next 18 months, the scientific authority revealed.

Decontamination efficiency

The CEF Panel found that the 10 reviewed processes were able to reduce “any foreseeable accidental contamination”,​ provided the processes were operated under conditions that are at least as severe as those obtained from the challenge test.

“All the processes are considered not to give rise to safety concerns if operated under well-definite and controlled conditions. These opinions are the first of a series on recycled plastic materials for food use,”​ said an EFSA statement on the opinions.

“Among the Panel’s conclusions for all three opinions, it stated that the recycling processes would not give rise to safety concerns if the proportion of PET from non-food consumer applications does not exceed 5%, and these processes are operated under well-defined conditions.”

European legislation

The EFSA evaluation was requested by several Member States regulatory bodies, including the Luxembourg Ministère de la Santé, the UK Food Standards Agency (FSA), Germany’s Bundesamt für Verbraucherschutz und Lebensmittelsicherheit, and the Italian Minstero della Salute.

Once completed, EFSA’s series of opinions will inform European Commission (EC) and European Union (EU) Member States decisions regarding the authorisation of the evaluated processes.

“Once this series is completed, EFSA’s opinions will inform the decisions of the European Commission and Member States regarding the authorisation of the evaluated processes,” ​said EFSA.

“The Authority is therefore contributing to greater consumer protection while also supporting the wider environmental objective of waste recycling.”

Related topics: Regulation and safety, Data management

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