Toxicological assessment of mineral oil hydrocarbons | Call for reducing MOH in foods



An article published on June 28, 2018, in the peer-reviewed Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry provides a review of the “state of present discussions” about the toxicological assessment of mineral oil hydrocarbons in foods. Koni Grob from the Official Food Control Authority of the Canton of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland, reviews the existing assessments of mineral oil hydrocarbons (MOHs) and discusses the underlying assumptions and the limitations of the approaches chosen.

Among MOHs, saturated (MOSH) and aromatic (MOAH) types are distinguished for having differing toxicological endpoints and exposure levels. The main concerns about MOAH are genotoxicity and carcinogenicity, while MOAH-free MOSH (e.g., “white” purified mineral oils) were once considered “not fundamentally different from vegetable oils,” with food industry using these MOH “rather loosely.” However, there was “little justification for this,” Grob points out. The concerns about MOSH are their accumulation in human tissue along with granuloma formation, but also, often overlooked to date, increases in weight of several organs.

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