While acknowledging that mineral oils can be found in food due to contamination and from some applications in food production, the FSA said there was no evidence to warrant changing diets.
“Although EFSA [the European Food Safety Authority] has identified potential concern from mineral oils in food, it acknowledges considerable uncertainties in assessing any potential risks,” said the FSA.
“As in the Food Standards Agency’s recent survey, the [recent] opinion does not identify any specific food safety concerns.
The FSA is not advising consumers to change their eating habits based on the EFSA opinion.”
Minerals oil contamination
The agency pledged to continue work with the food and packaging industry to study the risk of minerals oil contamination of food.
EFSA’s scientific opinion on mineral oil hydrocarbons (MOH) contamination in food identified “some potential concerns”.
So-called ‘aromatic’ MOH may damage DNA, the genetic material of cells, and can cause cancer. The ‘saturated’ MOH can accumulate in human tissue and may cause adverse effects in the liver, said the authority.
But the EFSA scientists stressed there were: “ … several uncertainties regarding the chemical composition of MOH mixtures to which humans are exposed and also the wide range of sources of human exposure”.
Also, new information on the lack of relevance for humans of previous animal studies meant that the temporary Acceptable Daily Intakes (ADIs) of some ‘saturated’ MOH warranted revision, they said.
To read the full EFSA opinion, click here.