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Food Grade MOSH Classification Questioned after FCA Study

A team from the Official Food Control Authority of the Canton of Zurich (FCA) conducted human tissue analysis and found high levels of mineral oil-saturated hydrocarbons (MOSH) in all evaluated samples. The results lead to Dr. Koni Grob’s FCA team questioning the current food grade oil classification of mineral oils used in food processing and beverage production.

Tissue samples were obtained during autopsies on 37 people, with a quarter indicating more than 5g of MOSH in their bodies. The strongly accumulated MOSH in the tissues reveal the concentration of the oils to be over 100 times higher than predicted by rodent tests ran by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). Dr. Grob said, “The most important finding for me is that the concentrations are so high, which shows that rat toxicology misses out a very important aspect for humans, which is accumulation.”

The oils are categorized according to viscosity in relation to their molecular weight, with Class 1 compounds having higher molecular weight. According to Dr. Grob, the hydrocarbons scientists have been finding in the human body reveal that the compounds belong to the Class I category.

Dr. Grob’s team is now working on the second study, where they are characterizing the accumulated MOSH in greater detail and exploring why certain hydrocarbons resist degradation. He stated that the study has great potential for use in oligomer research, as it is now widely used in manufacturing plastic films and many other products like lipsticks, once they see the vital hydrocarbon structure that is strongly accumulated in the tissues.

Revision of the existing acceptable daily intake (ADI) for certain food-grade MOSH is permissible on the basis of new toxicological information according to EFSA, but they added that ASOs for Class I oils were a “low priority for revision.” Dr. Grob said toxicologists’ reliance on animal testing is a bit surprising, saying that it is “inappropriate” in cases where accumulation is significant.

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About the Author
Randy Renick
Randy Renick has a Bachelor's degree from LSU. He is an STLE Certified Lubrication Specialist and has a 29 year work history in Industrial Lubrication. He is currently a Lubricant Consultant at The Industrial Lubricant Store.

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