U.K.-based Food Standards Agency study finds 84 of 350 cartonboard packaged food samples contained printing ink components, all contained one or more mineral oils; no health concerns were identified

LONDON , December 15, 2011 (press release) – The Food Standards Agency has published the results of its survey looking at the migration into food of selected printing ink components from printed carton-board packaging materials.The results also include work on the presence of mineral oils in some of the food packaging samples. Based on the results, the FSA's advice is that there is no need for consumers to change their eating habits.

The survey looked at 350 food products that were packaged in virgin and recycled carton-board. Of these, 84* food samples contained printing ink components. The FSA carried out an assessment of the potential risk the levels of the selected ink components may pose for consumers, and didn’t identify any concerns in relation to health.

The FSA also analysed 51 of the 350 carton-board packaging samples to look for different types of mineral oil. All had one or more mineral oils present. The FSA has also carried out a risk assessment based on these results, and didn’t identify any specific food safety concerns relating to minerals oils in the packaging.

Dr Alison Gleadle, FSA Director of Food Safety, said: ‘This survey shows that food packaging can contain one or more different types of mineral oil. However, based upon the levels we found, we did not identify specific food safety concerns. Therefore, based on these survey results, people don’t need to change their eating habits.

’We expect that the European Food Safety Authority will publish an opinion on the risks to human health related to the presence of mineral oils in food in the first half of 2012. The FSA will consider its advice to consumers in the light of this opinion and decide what, if any, further work needs to be done.

’The FSA has been in regular discussion with the food industry about printing inks and mineral oils. We are aware that the industry is working to drive best practice through the supply chain to reduce the potential for migration of these substances into food. We will keep talking to all parties to monitor progress.’

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