Scientific Opinion on the safety assessment of the “Phoenix - LNOc” process 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 – LNOc process (EU register number RECYC028). The input to the process is hot caustic washed and dried PET flakes originating from collected post-consumer poly(ethylene terephthalate) (PET) bottles and containing no more than 5 % of PET from non-food consumer applications. In this process, washed and dried flakes are grinded into small particle size powder, and then powder is compacted into pellets which fed into a reactor at high temperature under inert gas flow. Having examined the results of the challenge test provided, the Panel concluded that the three steps, the pulverisation, the compaction 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 well defined and are particle size for the pulverisation (step 2), time, pressure and pellet size for the compaction (step 3) and temperature, dry air flow and the residence time for the decontamination (step 4). The operating parameters of these steps 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 derived from the exposure scenario for infants and 0.15 μg/kg food derived from the exposure scenario for toddlers. The Panel concluded that the recycled PET obtained from this process is not of safety concern when used to manufacture articles intended for food contact material applications in compliance with the conditions as specified in the conclusion of the opinion.