Scientific Opinion on the safety evaluation of the process “PETUK SSP” for production of recycled post-consumer PET for use in food contact materials

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Article
Acknowledgements

The European Food Safety Authority wishes to thank the members of the Working Group on Recycling processes, Laurence Castle, Vincent Dudler, Nathalie Gontard, Eugenia Lampi, Maria Rosaria Milana, Cristina Nérin, Costas Papaspyrides and Karla Pfaff for their contribution to the draft opinion.

Panel on Food Contact Materials, Enzymes, Flavourings and Processing Aids
EFSA Journal
EFSA Journal 2012;10(8):2826 [16 pp.].
doi
10.2903/j.efsa.2012.2826
Possible conflict of interest
One member of the Panel did not participate in the discussion because of potential conflicts of interest identified in accordance with the EFSA policy on declarations of interests.
Panel members at the time of adoption
Ulla Beckman Sundh, Mona-Lise Binderup, Leon Brimer, Laurence Castle, Karl-Heinz Engel, Roland Franz, Nathalie Gontard, Rainer Gürtler, Trine Husøy, Klaus-Dieter Jany, Catherine Leclercq, Jean-Claude Lhuguenot, Wim Mennes, Maria Rosaria Milana, Maria de Fatima Pocas, Iona Pratt, Kettil Svensson, Fidel Toldrá, Detlef Wölfle.
Contact
Type
Opinion of the Scientific Committee/Scientific Panel
On request from
Food Standards Agency, United Kingdom
Question Number
EFSA-Q-2009-00706
Adopted
5 July 2012
Published
2 August 2012
Affiliation
European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), Parma, Italy
Note
Abstract

This scientific opinion of EFSA deals with the safety evaluation of the recycling process PETUK SSP, EC register number RECYC004. Through this process, washed PET flakes are dried, extruded into pellets then fed to a solid state polymerisation (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 SSP is the critical step that determines the decontamination efficiency of the process. The operating parameters to control the performance of this critical step are the temperature, the pressure and the residence time. It was demonstrated, by means of the challenge test, that the recycling process under evaluation 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 considered that the recycling process PETUK SSP is able to reduce any foreseeable accidental contamination of the post-consumer food contact PET to a concentration that does not give rise to concern for a risk to human health if:

  1. it is operated under conditions that are at least as severe as those obtained from the challenge test used to measure the decontamination efficiency of the processes and
  2. the input is washed and dried post-consumer PET flakes originating from materials and articles that have been manufactured in accordance with the Community legislation on food contact materials containing no more than 5% of PET from non-food consumer applications.

The Panel concluded that the recycled PET obtained from the process PETUK SSP 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.

Keywords
PETUK SSP; RECYC004; Food contact materials; Plastic; Poly(ethylene terephthalate); PET; Recycling; Process; Safety evaluation
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Number of Pages
16