Scientific assistance to assess the detoxification process for dioxins and PCBs in sunflower cake by hexane extraction
EFSA was requested to provide scientific assistance to the European Commission on a detoxification process for dioxins and PCBs from sunflower cake by hexane extraction in an emergency situation, as specified in Article 7 of Commission Regulation (EU) 2015/786. The process entails hexane extraction of sunflower oil from the cake to remove dioxins (PCDDs and PCDFs) as well as DL- and NDL-PCBs. The data provided by the applicant were assessed with respect to the efficacy of the process, absence of solvent residues, and on information demonstrating that the process does not adversely affect the nature and characteristics of the product. According to data provided, the process was effective in producing a sunflower meal that contained concentrations of PCDD/Fs and DL-PCBs, and NDL-PCBs (6 indicator PCBs) about 90% lower than in the parent sunflower cake. The data showed that it is possible to meet the current EU maximum levels with respect to these contaminants using this process. It is unlikely that hazardous substances (i.e. hexane) remain in the final product. The extraction of the oil from the sunflower cake produces sunflower meal, which has a different nutrient content and nutritional value than the original sunflower cake, but is suitable to be used in animal nutrition with no specific limitations in the use or the inclusion levels in the diets. The applicant indicated that the crude oil, as well as the co-products resulting of the processing of this oil, could only be used for technical purposes. No information was provided regarding the disposal or reuse of the hexane. EFSA concluded that the proposed detoxification process to remove PCDD/Fs and PCBs from sunflower cake by means of solvent extraction to produce sunflower meal, met the acceptability criteria provided in Commission Regulation (EU) 2015/786.