Scientific Opinion on the safety evaluation of the process “MOPET ®” 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 MOPET ®, EC register number RECYC001. The input of the process is hot caustic washed and dried PET flakes originating from collected post-consumer PET articles mainly bottles containing no more than 5 % of PET from non-food consumer applications. Through this process, washed and dried PET flakes are extruded in a twin-screw extruder to amorphous pellets before being crystallised and solid state polymerised in a batch reactor. After having examined the challenge tests provided, the Panel concluded that, although the extrusion (step 2) contributes significantly to the overall decontamination efficiency, the decontamination in the batch SSP reactor (step 3) is the critical step that determine the decontamination efficiency of the process. The operating parameters to control its performance are well defined and are the temperature, the pressure, the residence time and the inert gas flow. 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.