Safety assessment of the process Veolia URRC used to recycle post‐consumer PET into food contact materials

food contact materials, plastic, poly(ethylene terephthalate) (PET), recycling, URRC, safety assessment
First published in the EFSA Journal
20 May 2020
Adopted
29 April 2020
Type
Scientific Opinion

Note: The full opinion will be published in accordance with Article 10(6) of Regulation (EC) No 1935/2004 once the decision on confidentiality, in line with Article 20(3) of the Regulation, will be received from the European Commission. The text and table on the operational parameters (Appendix C) have been provided under confidentiality and they are redacted awaiting the decision of the Commission.

Abstract

The EFSA Panel on Food Contact Materials, Enzymes and Processing Aids (CEP) assessed the safety of the recycling process Veolia (EU register number RECYC160) based on the URRC technology. The input material is hot caustic and surfactants‐washed and dried flakes obtained from collected post‐consumer PET containers, mainly bottles, containing no more than 5% of PET from non‐food applications. The flakes are coated with a sodium or potassium hydroxide solution, heated, then dried before being further heated in a continuous rotary reactor to a high temperature with a counter flow of air. The recycled flakes are intended to be used at up to 100% for the manufacture of new food packaging materials and articles, typically bottles and thermoformed sheets. These recycled materials and articles are intended to be used in direct contact with all kind of foodstuffs for long term storage at room temperature, with or without hotfill. The dossier does not satisfy the requirements of the EFSA guidelines. In particular, the Panel was unable to derive an adequate description and understanding of the main steps and the operating parameters of the technology. Furthermore, the Panel considered the challenge tests as not suitable for demonstrating the required cleaning efficiency of the process. Despite a request for clarification, fundamental issues were not satisfactorily addressed. Therefore, the Panel concluded that the process URRC Veolia is not adequately characterised. Based on the information submitted to EFSA, the applicant has not demonstrated in an adequately performed challenge test or by other appropriate evidence that the recycling process is able to reduce contamination of the PET flake input to a concentration that does not pose a risk to human health.

Panel members at the time of adoption

José Manuel Barat Baviera, Claudia Bolognesi, Andrew Chesson, Pier Sandro Cocconcelli, Riccardo Crebelli, David Michael Gott, Konrad Grob, Claude Lambré, Evgenia Lampi, Marcel Mengelers, Alicja Mortensen, Gilles Rivière, Vittorio Silano, Inger‐Lise Steffensen, Christina Tlustos, Henk Van Loveren, Laurence Vernis and Holger Zorn.
Panel on Food Contact Materials, Enzymes and Processing Aids
Contact
fip [at] efsa.europa.eu
doi
10.2903/j.efsa.2020.6125
EFSA Journal 2020;18(5):6125
Question Number
On request from
Bundesamt für Verbraucherschutz und Lebensmittelsicherheit, Germany