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Safety assessment of the process World PET Plastic, based on the VACUNITE (EREMA basic and Polymetrix SSP V‐leaN) technology, used to recycle post‐consumer PET into food contact materials

Metadata

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 (until 21 December 2020†), Inger‐Lise Steffensen, Christina Tlustos, Henk Van Loveren, Laurence Vernis and Holger Zorn.

Abstract

The EFSA Panel on Food Contact Materials, Enzymes and Processing Aids (CEP) assessed the safety of the recycling process World PET Plastic (EU register number RECYC234), which uses the VACUNITE (EREMA basic and Polymetrix SSP V‐leaN) technology. The input is hot caustic washed and dried poly(ethylene terephthalate) (PET) flakes mainly originating from collected post‐consumer PET containers, including no more than 5% PET from non‐food consumer applications. The flakes are heated in a continuous reactor under vacuum before being extruded and pelletised. The crystallised pellets are then preheated and submitted to solid‐state polycondensation (SSP) in a continuous reactor at high temperature under vacuum and gas flow. Having examined the challenge test provided, the Panel concluded that the continuous reactor (step 2) and the SSP reactor (step 4) are critical in determining the decontamination efficiency of the process. The operating parameters to control the performance are temperature, pressure and residence time for steps 2 and 4 as well as gas velocity for step 4. It was demonstrated that this recycling process is able to ensure that the level of migration of potential unknown contaminants into food is below the conservatively modelled migration of 0.1 μg/kg food. Therefore, the Panel concluded that the recycled PET obtained from this process is not of safety concern, when used at up to 100% for the manufacture of materials and articles for contact with all types of foodstuffs, including drinking water, for long‐term storage at room temperature, with or without hotfill. The final articles made of this recycled PET are not intended to be used in microwave and conventional ovens and such uses are not covered by this evaluation.