GERMANY, Darmstadt. Since the end of 2009, the problem of migration of mineral oil components from cardboard packaging has been under discussion. However, according to information from the German Solid Board Packaging Association, it is now generally accepted that the sources of mineral oil substances entering foodstuffs are much more diverse.
Solid board packaging is made of up to 100% recovered paper and about 80% is used for food, especially for fresh food such as dairy products, fruit and vegetables, meat and sausage products, fish etc. under humid and cool transport and storage conditions. The transition of mineral oil hydrocarbons (MOSH and MOAH) from recycled cardboard via the gas phase to dry food has been extensively investigated and published in recent years. Significantly less knowledge is available about the actual migration of MOSH and MOAH from packaging containing waste paper under cooling and freezing conditions.
The association Vollpappe-Kartonagen e.V. (VVK) has therefore initiated the project "Investigations on the migration of mineral oil hydrocarbons (MOSH/MOAH) from recycled cardboard into food under humid-cool conditions" in 2017 in order to close the existing gaps in knowledge and to ask the fundamental question whether a migration of MOSH/MOAH compounds from solid board cartons or trays in humid-cool environments to food can occur at all.
This question has now been answered with a clear "no" by a scientific study of the mineral oil migration behaviour of solid board cardboard boxes in a cool, moist environment. The two-year research project was carried out by the TU Darmstadt - Department of Paper Manufacture and Mechanical Process Engineering (PMV) and ISEGA Forschungs- und Untersuchungsgesellschaft mbH in Aschaffenburg.
No transitions of substances to be counted as MOAH compounds were found in any of the migration studies. The storage under deep-freeze conditions did not show any transitions of MOSH/MOAH compounds, even during longer storage periods of up to six months.
Parallel to the storage with food and with the same cartonboard qualities, investigations on Tenax migration were carried out in order to be able to compare the results with standardized test conditions specified in legal requirements. These confirmed the test results of the real contact scenarios in all cases and thus their food law harmlessness.
The cardboard and paperboard or packaging made from them, which were representatively examined within the scope of the VVK project, can be safely used for the simulated contact scenarios with regard to the parameter "MOSH/MOAH", according to the conclusion of the study.