Scientific Opinion on the safety assessment of the process “Phoenix - ESPS”, used to recycle post-consumer PET into food contact materials


Panel on Food Contact Materials, Enzymes, Flavourings and Processing Aids
EFSA Journal
EFSA Journal 2014;12(5):3647 [15 pp.].
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, Claudia Bolognesi, Leon Brimer, Laurence Castle, Alessandro Di Domenico, Karl-Heinz Engel, Roland Franz, Nathalie Gontard, Rainer Gürtler, Trine Husøy, Klaus-Dieter Jany, Martine Kolf-Clauw, Catherine Leclercq (until July 2013), Jean-Claude Lhuguenot (until November 2012), Wim Mennes, Maria Rosaria Milana, Maria de Fátima Poças, Iona Pratt †, Kettil Svensson, Fidel Toldrá and Detlef Wölfle.

The Panel wishes to thank the members of the Working Group on Recycling processes: Laurence Castle, Vincent Dudler, Nathalie Gontard, Eugenia Lampi, Maria Rosaria Milana, Cristina Nerin, and Constantine Papaspyrides for the preparatory work on this scientific opinion.

Opinion of the Scientific Committee/Scientific Panel
On request from
Bundesamt für Verbraucherschutz und Lebensmittelsicherheit, Germany
Question Number
9 April 2014
Published in the EFSA Journal
6 May 2014
European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), Parma, Italy

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.

food contact materials, plastic, poly(ethylene terephthalate) PET, recycling, process, Phoenix ESPS technology, safety assessment
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