Scientific Opinion on the safety evaluation of the active substances Sodium carboxy methyl cellulose, bentonite, aluminium potassium sulphate for use in active food contact materials

Sodium carboxymethylcellulose, bentonite, aluminium potassium sulphate, CAS No 9004-32-4; 1302-78-9; 7784-24-9, FCM substance No 542, 393, 1000; Active and intelligent materials
First published in the EFSA Journal
18 October 2012
25 September 2012
Scientific Opinion


This scientific opinion of EFSA deals with the risk assessment of the active substances sodium carboxymethylcellulose, bentonite and aluminium potassium sulphate dodecahydrate, CAS No 9004-32-4, 1302-78-9 and 7784-24-9 respectively. The active substances form a mixture that is incorporated in articles such as pads, trays, lids. It is intended to be used as a moisture and liquid absorber in packaging for foods with short shelf-life, which are stored and retailed at refrigeration temperature or at room temperature, such as fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, and meat products. The mixture is not in direct contact with food being separated from it by a permeable non-woven fabric.
To measure the capacity of the absorbent, absorbency tests were performed. Moreover, it was demonstrated that in real conditions of use overload does not occur. If the absorbent capacity is not exceeded, the migration of the active substances is expected to be negligible not giving rise to any safety concern.
The CEF Panel concluded that the substances sodium carboxymethylcellulose and bentonite do not raise a safety concern for the consumer when used as moisture and liquid absorbers. Aluminium potassium sulphate dodecahydrate can be used in formulations with sodium carboxymethylcellulose (50-90% w/w) and bentonite (10-30% w/w) at levels up to 4% w/w. In all cases the absorbers must be placed in components in the food packaging preventing them from being in direct contact with food and the fluid absorption capacity of these absorbers must not be exceeded.

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 Fátima Poças, Iona Pratt, Kettil Svensson, Fidel Toldrá, Detlef Wölfle.
Panel on Food Contact Materials, Enzymes, Flavourings and Processing Aids
fip [at]
EFSA Journal 2012;10(10):2904
Question Number
On request from
Ministry of Health Welfare and Sport, The Netherlands