Safety assessment of the process ‘General Plastic’, based on Starlinger Decon technology, used to recycle post‐consumer PET into food contact materials

Starlinger Decon technology, General Plastic, food contact materials, plastic, poly(ethylene terephthalate) (PET), recycling process, safety assessment
First published in the EFSA Journal
10. August 2018
Adopted
5. Juli 2018
Type
Scientific Opinion

Abstract

This scientific opinion of the EFSA Panel on Food Contact Materials, Enzymes, Flavourings and Processing Aids (CEF Panel) deals with the safety evaluation of the recycling process General Plastic (EU register No RECYC153), which is based on the Starlinger Decon technology. The decontamination efficiency of the process was demonstrated by a challenge test. The input of this process is hot caustic washed and dried poly(ethylene terephthalate) (PET) flakes originating from collected post‐consumer PET containers, mainly bottles, containing no more than 5% of PET from non‐food consumer applications. In this technology, washed and dried PET flakes are preheated before being submitted to solid‐state polycondensation (SSP) in a continuous reactor at high temperature under vacuum and gas flow. Having examined the challenge test provided, the Panel concluded that the preheating (step 2) and the decontamination in the continuous SSP reactor (step 3) are the critical steps that determine the decontamination efficiency of the process. The operating parameters that control the process performance are well defined and are temperature, pressure, residence time and gas flow for steps 2 and 3. Under these conditions, it was demonstrated that the recycling process under evaluation, using the Starlinger Decon technology, 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 to be used up to 100% 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. Trays made of this PET are not intended to be used, and should not be used, in microwave and conventional ovens.

Panel members at the time of adoption

Vittorio Silano, José Manuel Barat Baviera, Claudia Bolognesi, Beat Johannes Brüschweiler, Andrew Chesson, Pier Sandro Cocconcelli, Riccardo Crebelli, David Michael Gott, Konrad Grob, Evgenia Lampi, Alicja Mortensen, Gilles Riviere, Inger‐Lise Steffensen, Christina Tlustos, Henk Van Loveren, Laurence Vernis and Holger Zorn.
Panel on Food Contact Materials, Enzymes and Processing Aids
Contact
fip [at] efsa.europa.eu
doi
10.2903/j.efsa.2018.5388
EFSA Journal 2018;16(8):5388
Question Number
On request from
European Commission