Scientific opinion on the safety evaluation of rPET into food contact.

This scientific opinion of the EFSA Panel on Food Contact Materials, Enzymes, Flavourings and Processing Aids deals with the safety evaluation of the recycling processes “Baltija Eco PET”, “Eurocast”, “Fernholz”, “Formas y Envases”, and “Klöckner Pentaplast” (EU register numbers RECYC0118, RECYC0111, RECYC0113, RECYC0115 and RECYC0121 respectively), which are all based on the same Starlinger Decon technology.

The decontamination efficiency of all these processes was demonstrated using the same challenge test. The input of all the processes is washed and dried PET flakes originating from collected post-consumer PET containers, mainly bottles, containing no more than 5 % of PET from non-food consumer applications.

Through this technology washed and dried PET flakes are pre-heated before being solid state polymerised (SSP) in a continuous reactor at high temperature under vacuum and gas flow. Having examined the challenge test provided, the Panel concluded that the pre-heating (step 2) and the decontamination in the continuous SSP reactor (step 3) are the critical steps that determine the decontamination efficiency of the processes.

The operating parameters to control their performance are well defined and are temperature, pressure, residence time and gas flow for step 2 and 3. Under these conditions it was demonstrated that the recycling processes under evaluation, using a Starlinger Decon technology, are 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.

Therefore, the Panel concluded that the recycled PET obtained from these processes intended to be used at up to 100 % for the manufacture of materials and articles for contact with all types of foodstuffs for long term storage at room temperature, with or without hotfill is not considered of safety concern. 

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