The MOSH and MOAH urban myth

Andreas Adam,

Director Sales Lubricants, FRAGOL AG

If we look at the MOSH (mineral oil saturated hydrocarbons) and MOAH (mineral oil aromatic hydrocarbons) panic in food it is clear to see where this initially comes from. In the run up to Christmas 2013 a German consumer organisation published a report that the presence of MOSH and MOAH were found in chocolate.

Consumer organisations have a large following in the general public, not necessarily because of their scientific work, but because these are seen as defending the consumers interest against big industry producers that supposedly do not take their customers’ health too seriously. Foodwatch Germany published their big test 10-2015 with the heading “mineral oil in food” and it was presented in a way that is at best misleading. Food packages on top of oil drums, a dirty oiler can, and in the opening text immediately the note of the cancer forming potential of mineral oils. The test was also televised on various channels broadcasting consumer programmes, and published in a wide number of regional papers. Due to the international presence of Foodwatch it also drew similar attention in a number of other European countries.

The effect on the food producing industries was a serious one. The chocolate sales over Christmas dropped severely, in some cases by 25% and producers of food were forced by their customers to deliver MOSH and MOAH free product under pressure of public sentiment. In various reports brands were


also mentioned. In all, a significant loss of sales must have been significant beyond the clear reputation damage to the brand.

The fact that MOSH and MOAH was found in food is not disputed. If you find MOAH you also will find MOSH. These two are connected. The quantity and proportions of MOSH versus MOAH may tell you something of the origin but when it is taken out of context (disassociated from the matrix where it was isolated from) it can be very confusing to find the origin and interpret the data as you will only have analytical information with no point of reference. It could come from packaging material, from a process oil, from nature, from air or water pollution or from a fully regulatory compliant and safe lubricant, to name a few.

We are solving a problem that is not a problem! In 2009, EFSA published their scientific opinion on Mineral Oil Hydrocarbons in food. This report is often referred to by f.e. Foodwatch if they want to show the risks of mineral oils. An updated scientific opinion was published by EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) on 28 August 2013. Many European governments have done activities around MOSH and MOAH and broadly MOH (mineral oil Hydrocarbon) in food. When dealing with mineral oil, they use the terms MOSH and MOAH when referring to a food analysis. The analysis is based on the detection of these two fractions (MOSH and MOAH), which then trigger an interpretation of what they mean.

Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60