Scientific Opinion on the safety evaluation of the process “PKR”, used to recycle post-consumer PET into food contact materials
This scientific opinion of the EFSA Panel on Food Contact Materials, Enzymes, Flavourings and Processing Aids deals with the safety evaluation of the recycling process PKR, EC register number RECYC009. The input of the PKR is washed and dried PET flakes originating from collected post-consumer PET bottles containing no more than 5 % of PET from non-food consumer applications. Through this process, dried flakes are extruded into pellets which are then pre-crystallised before being fed to a batch solid state polymerization (SSP) reactor where high temperature and long residence time are applied under vacuum. After having examined the challenge test provided, the Panel concluded that the decontamination at SSP batch reactor is the critical step that determine the decontamination efficiency of the process. The operating parameters to control the performance of this critical step are well defined and are the temperature, the pressure and the residence time. The operating parameters of this step in the process are at least as severe as those obtained from the challenge test. Under these conditions, it was demonstrated that the recycling process is able to ensure that the level of migration of potential unknown contaminants into food is below a conservatively modelled migration of 0.1 μg/kg food. Therefore the Panel concluded that the recycled PET obtained from this process intended for the manufacture of materials and articles for contact with all types of foodstuffs for long term storage at room temperature, with or without hotfill, is not considered of safety concern.