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German authorities notify WTO on fourth draft of German mineral oil regulation

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German authorities notify WTO on fourth draft of German mineral oil regulation

April 12, 2021 - 06:25

BRUSSELS, April 12, 2021 (Fastmarkets RISI) -The German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) has notified the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Committee on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures of its fourth draft of the German mineral oil regulation.

The fourth draft of the intended “Twenty-second regulation amending the German commodities regulation” (Mineral Oil Regulation) intends to prevent the migration of mineral oil into foodstuffs and mainly concerns materials and articles in contact with food made of recycled fiber-based paper and board.

“The Federal Institute for Risk Assessment and the European Food Safety Authority raised concerns about intake of MOAH [mineral oil aromatic hydrocarbons] due to a possible carcinogenic potential,” the notification said, adding: “The measure offers the possibility of continuous use of recycled[fiber-based] paper and board in food contact materials while ensuring safety.”

In August last year, the BMEL also issued a notification to the European Commission announcing an amended version of the draft.

The new version is an update from the March 2017 draft ordinance, following consultations with the German federal states and industry associations. Like the previous version, the amended one will focus on mineral oil MOAH only, leaving aside mineral oil saturated hydrocarbons. According to the BMEL, one of the key provisions of the new draft is the requirement to use a functional barrier for food contact materials made of recycled fiber-based paper and board. The manufacturer would be exempted if it can demonstrate that MOAH migration does not take place above 0.5 mg MOAH/kg of food or above 0.15 mg MOAH/kg of food simulant.

The exact date of adoption or publication of the ordinance is not known yet. “The ordinance will enter into force the day after publication; the provisions will be applicable after three years after publication,” the BMEL said, adding that existing products that do not comply can be sold for two years after the regulation takes effect.

Comments are being accepted on the updated draft until May 21.