End of October 2019 foodwatch published a report on the mineral oil contamination in infant formula. In several infant formula products, the potential carcinogenic aromatic mineral oil hydrocarbons (MOAH) were quantified.
On the 15.11.2019, the EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) published the risk assessment „Rapid risk assessment on the possible risk for public health due to the contamination of infant formula and follow-on formula by mineral oil aromatic hydrocarbons (MOAH)“ on this topic.
The assessment confirmed again, that the method of choice for the quantification of mineral oil hydrocarbons in foodstuffs is still the HPLC-GC-FID. The EFSA addresses the toxicity of the MOAH fraction and describes the aromatic 3-7 rings as potential carcinogenic compounds in particular. These can be determined, according the EFSA, especially by GCxGC-TOF-MS.
Due to current events, we would like to inform you once again, that we established the analysis of mineral oil hydrocarbons in our institute in 2010. Institut Kirchhoff GmbH has been dealing with this topic for over 10 years and has been possessing comprehensive experience in the analysis of mineral oil. For the analysis of mineral oil, we use the HPLC-GC-FID and can analyze carbon chain lengths from n-C10 to n-C50. Routinely, we report the results as sum parameters for different n-alkane fractions. Our current reporting for the division of fractions and LOQ (Limit of Quantification) have already been adapted to the JRC (Joint Research Centre) document on European mineral oil monitoring published in February.
We use the GCxGC-TOF-MS technique to characterize the mineral oil residues. By this analytical technique qualitative statements about the composition of the MOSH and MOAH fraction can be made. This prevents false positive MOAH results and allows identification of the predominant classes of analytes. In addition, the detection of 3 - 7 ring aromatics with potentially carcinogenic properties is included.
It is also possible to quantify the amount of aromatic rings with LC-LC-GC-FID for lubricants and cosmetic raw materials. Thus, the content of the potentially classified as carcinogenic 3 - 7 ring aromatics can be determined.
Please do not hesitate to contact us for further information.
The full EFSA statement is available at the following link: