Global - Mineral oil saturated and mineral oil aromatic hydrocarbons
In recent years, the contamination of food by mineral oil has received increasing attention from the scientific community and the press. This led to the 2012 publication of the Scientific Opinion on Mineral Oil Hydrocarbons (MOH) in Food by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) Panel on Contaminants in the Food Chain (CONTAM), which concluded that a revision of the existing acceptable daily intake value may be warranted. However, there remain conflicting definitions of the term “mineral oil” – whether mineral oil saturated hydrocarbons (MOSH) or mineral oil aromatic hydrocarbons (MOAH), terms which have yet to be defined in regulation. The concern over “MOH”, “MOSH” and “MOAH” originates from several toxicological studies with a variety of petroleum-derived products, the culmination of which has led to the understanding that:
- The effects seen result from the presence of specific molecules in particular products;
- The relevance of some of their effects to human health is unclear;
- Some prevailing definitions of these terms are overly broad.
This article explores further the scientific basis for these terms to explain why, from a health and safety perspective, ExxonMobil hydrocarbon fluids should not be considered to contain either “MOSH” or “MOAH."