Scientific Opinion on the safety assessment of the process “Phoenix - ESPS”, 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 assessment of the recycling process Phoenix – ESPS process (EU register No RECYC035). The input to the process is hot caustic washed and dried poly(ethylene terephthalate) (PET) flakes originating from collected post-consumer PET containers, mainly bottles and containing no more than 5 % of PET from non-food consumer applications. In this process, washed and dried flakes are ground into small particle size powder, this powder is then fed into a reactor at high temperature under inert gas flow for decontamination. Having examined the results of the challenge test provided, the Panel concluded that the two steps, the pulverisation and the decontamination are the critical steps that determine the decontamination efficiency of the process. The operating parameters to control the performance of these critical steps are particle size for the pulverisation (step 2), temperature, dry air flow and residence time for the decontamination (step 3) and these are well defined. The operating parameters of these steps in the process are at least as severe as those used in 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 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 hot-fill is not considered of safety concern.