Safety assessment of the process ‘4PET’, based on EREMA Basic technology, 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 (CEF Panel) deals with the safety assessment of the 4PET recycling process (EU register number RECYC0139), which is based on the EREMA Basic technology. The input to this process is hot washed and dried poly(ethylene terephthalate) (PET) flakes originating from collected post-consumer PET containers, containing no more than 5% PET from non-food consumer applications. In this technology, post-consumer washed and dried PET flakes are heated in a continuous reactor under vacuum before being extruded. Having examined the results of the challenge test provided, the Panel concluded that the continuous reactor step (step 2) is the critical step that determines the decontamination efficiency of the process. The operating parameters controlling its performance are well defined and are temperature, pressure and residence time. It was demonstrated that, depending on the operating conditions, the recycling process under evaluation is able to ensure that the level of migration of potential unknown contaminants into food is below a conservatively modelled migration of 0.15 μg/kg food, derived from the exposure scenario for toddlers. The Panel concluded that recycled PET obtained from the process is not of safety concern when the final thermoformed trays and containers and PET beverage bottles manufactured with the recycled pellets and not used for packaging water or ready-to-feed liquid infant formulae contain up to 90% recycled post-consumer PET. These thermoformed trays are not intended to be used and should not be used in microwave and conventional ovens.