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programme that all foodstuff producers will have. H1 means incidental food contact and as such it underlines that lubricants should not be present in food. However if an incident occurs it presents a safety feature for the consumer that, when not discovered early enough and contaminated food is consumed, the risks are minimal. Any operator will need to check oil levels on a daily basis and record top-up and consumption. This is the only practical way to establish if a lubricant is entering the food stuff. Measuring the final food tells you little. If you remove the manufacturing context from the final food, you may find the MOSH and MOAH fractions, but you cannot tell where the traces came from. A molecule found in bread can come from a dust depressant, a mould release, packaging material, agro equipment or the oil from a conveyer belt in your plant. Looking at an extensive analysis of the individual carbon numbers and types of hydrocarbons might help you further but this all is time-consuming and expensive and unnecessary.


It is disappointing to see that although the lubricant industry has been communicating factual information about the safety of highly refined base oils, this does not reach the general public. In part this might come because the message “lubricants cause cancer” is a punchier headline. Also, this message has been in the news so often, and parroted elsewhere, that any Google search will show a high level of confirmation rather than accuracy or correctness. Even today Foodwatch maintains its position on its German website with the opinion date of 27-10-2015 ignoring the later information by the BFR and other scientific conferences like ILSI and CONCAWE.

Clearer research and more accuracy and verification through investigative journalism, will go far to redress the often misinformed fake news that exists around MOAH and MOSH.


Carrillo, Juan-Carlos, et al. “The selective determination of potentially carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic compounds in lubricant base oils by the DMSO extraction method IP346 and its correlation to mouse skin painting carcinogenicity assays.” Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology 106 (2019): 316-333. S0273230019301400

IP346: uploads/2017/01/report-6-16-final-version-3.pdf

DMSO: uploads/2017/01/rpt9451ocr-2005-00417-01-e.pdf

H1 Lubricants are safe products The highly refined mineral oil you use is proven not to be a potential source of cancer as is often wrongly reported. Over a period of 40 years the oil industry has collected evidence and proven the safety of the base oils leaving a refinery. No lubricant base oil is allowed to leave a refinery to enter the market when not tested by the IP346 a test that is conclusive of the elimination of the cancer potential molecules. This also means that motor oils, hydraulic oils and oils used in printing ink are considered safe. The base oils used in lubricants are technical white oils or pharmaceutical white oils. These have been treated even further to a point where aromatics are only at trace levels. We can conclude that if MOAH is found in food and the molecules originate from the lubricant, the MOAH is safe, so don’t panic.


CONCAWE: uploads/mineral-oils-are-safe-for-human-health.pdf

BFR: mineraloele-in-kosmetika-gesundheitliche-risiken-sind- nach-derzeitigem-kenntnisstand-nicht-zu-erwarten.pdf

EFSA: epdf/10.2903/j.efsa.2012.2704

Foodwatch: informieren/mineraloel/aktuelle-nachrichten/

ELGI position paper: pub/2019_ELGI_PositionPaperOnFGLupdateNov17.pdf


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