Update on recycled paperboard and its compliance for food contact

An interdisciplinary statement
Review article


The last 3 years brought much movement around the migration from recycled paperboard in general and of mineral oil in particular. It has been shown that it is unrealistic to ensure the safety of the many and variable migrants from recycled fibers. The toxicological evaluation of mineral oil remains uncertain, but the strong accumulation of certain saturated mineral hydrocarbons in human tissues might increase the concern. The draft of a German regulation on mineral oil migration from recycled paper and board struggles with the difficult analysis in food, but frequent measurement in food is avoidable if the compliance work can be based on citable systematic studies. In the discussions about potential solutions, the introduction of barriers prevails. Internal bags with barrier layers have been widely introduced. For packings without internal bags, barriers on the internal surface of the recycled paperboard have been developed, but not yet introduced into the market on broad scale. An agreed method for measuring barrier efficiency and a specification of minimum required efficiency are probably a prerequisite. Work for an industry standard on barriers is on-going in Switzerland.


Mineral oil saturated hydrocarbons (MOSH) Internal bags Barriers Regulation Accumulation in human tissues 


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Copyright information

© Bundesamt für Verbraucherschutz und Lebensmittelsicherheit (BVL) 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Kantonales Labor Zürich (Official Food Control Authority of the Canton of Zürich)ZurichSwitzerland

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