News 30.05.2022

EU proposes limits for mineral oils in food products

  • Mineral oil in foods

The EU has agreed to restrict mineral oils in all foodstuffs. It is a crucial step for food safety, but not sufficient enough: A binding regulation must ensure no detectable MOAH in any foodstuffs in the EU.

In the meeting on the 21st of April the Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed (PAFF Committee) decided to set limits for aromatic mineral oils (MOAH), which are potentially carcinogenic and genotoxic. 

foodwatch has campaigned against the contamination of foodstuffs with mineral oils for years, demonstrating the widespread occurrence of the harmful substances in various laboratory tests. 

The widespread occurrence of harmful mineral oils in foodstuffs has been known for years. Still the food giants Danone, Nestlé and Unilever played down the issue of food contamination with mineral oil against the public health of millions of European citizens. Finally, the experts are convinced that we need maximum limits for all foodstuffs.
Matthias Wolfschmidt International Strategy Director

No detectable MOAH in any food!

The limits are effective immediately, but are not legally binding yet. The Member States can decide if they enforce the new requirements.

Concrete limit values of the EU committee:

  • For dry foods with a low fat/oil content of equal or less than 4%, 0.5 mg/kg of MOAH is allowed; 
  • for foods with a higher fat/oil content of more than 4%, 1 mg/kg of MOAH is allowed; 
  • and 2 mg/kg of MOAH is permitted for fats and oils. 

The contamination levels are not yet enough to fully protect European consumers. The EFSA risk assessment has to go a step further than the statement: there should be no detectable MOAH in any foodstuff in the European Union. With carcinogenic contaminants even a small amount is too much. Technology exists to detect low levels of MOAH – if any detection at all, the foodstuff must be taken off the shelves.