Health safety: our mineral oil determination method is accredited with a very low quantification threshold

Providing reliable analyses to ensure food safety is a complex and crucial task, requiring advanced technical skills, cutting-edge scientific expertise and in-depth knowledge of current standards and regulations.

The expertise we've built up over the last ten years in the field of mineral oils enables us to provide support to manufacturers faced with this problem, in the fat-producing and processing sectors, as well as in the food and cosmetics industries.

The search for contaminants is one of the many controls carried out by the food industry to ensure food safety and verify the conformity of products placed on the market with current regulations, such as European regulation EC n°1881/2006. In this context, the oils and fats industry carries out a wide range of checks, not just on contaminants of environmental origin, but also on compounds that may appear during the oil production process. Hydrocarbons derived from mineral oils (MOSH/ MOAH) are currently receiving a great deal of attention.

On 13/09, EFSA published its final opinion on the risk assessment of mineral oil hydrocarbons (MOH) in food, following the public consultation held last spring:

The European Commission is now expected to put forward a proposal for a regulation, including the possibility of setting maximum limits (for late 2023, early 2024).

The accreditation obtained in April 2023 for our MOSH-MOAH determination method, with a very low quantification threshold, attests to the excellence of our laboratories. It also testifies to our ability to adapt to changing needs, by developing a method that guarantees accurate and reliable analysis results.

The presence of MOH in foodstuffs and fats
can be explained in different ways

The presence of MOH in foodstuffs and fats can be explained in various ways:

contamination of the environment and transfer to raw materials, imports during the process, use of lubricants for machines, release agents, processing aids, additives for food or feed, or migration from materials in contact with food, such as waxes contained in cardboard or hessian packaging (Source Toolbox ANIA 2019).

Industrial operators implement all existing measures to avoid possible contamination by mineral oils, and avoid any possibility of contamination at the primary production, collection and transport stages.

What are MOH (MOSH and MOAH)?

Mineral oils (MOH) are complex mixtures derived from crude oil and made up of saturated mineral oil hydrocarbons (MOSH) and aromatic mineral oil hydrocarbons (MOAH).
- MOSHs can be made up of alkanes, isoalkanes + naphthenes, which can give "kerosene wax" or paraffin oil profiles.
- MOAHs are made up of aromatic rings, aliphatic chains and naphthanic rings. 

What are the regulatory limits?

For MOAH :

The limit of quantification imposed by the European Commission:

  • 0.5 mg/kg in low-fat dry foods (≤ 4% oil/fat),
  • 1 mg/kg in foods with a higher fat content (> to 4% oil/fat and ≤ to 50%),
  • 2 mg/kg in oils and fats (with >50% oil/fat).


🧪Our method for determining mineral oil content (saturated and/or aromatic hydrocarbons) is COFRAC accredited.

✅ This method meets a strong demand from our customers to have an accredited analysis for a low limit of quantification.

✅ Our laboratory has invested in an LC GC FID coupling with automatic preparator, capable of performing the different concentration steps in order to reach the 1 mg/kg threshold.

@ITERG Credit

For more information or if you wish to make a request for analysis, please complete the contact form addressed to Franck DEJEAN, Head of Analysis and Expertise Department.