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Packaging Made From Recycled Cardboard Contaminates Food

June 15, 2011: 12:00 AM EST
Swiss researchers who tested food packages made from recycled cardboard found that harmful mineral oils from printing inks can contaminate food even when recycled materials are only used for the transport cartons. In their study, individual packs of noodles rapidly absorbed ten times the recommended levels of contaminating oils from the transport boxes made from recycled fibers. The standard limit for the oils is 0.6mg in each kg of food, the researchers said. But after standing in packaging for just six weeks, food that had a two-year shelf life could contain 6.1mg/kg of the oils. Some companies have switched to packaging made from fresh fiber paperboard printed with inks free of mineral oil. But their efforts are pointless because recycled cardboard transport boxes contain the contaminating oils.
Maurus Biedermann, et al., "Migration of Mineral Oil into Noodles from Recycled Fibers in the Paperboard Box and the Corrugated Board Transport Box as well as from Printing Inks: A Case Study", Packaging Technology and Science, June 15, 2011, © John Wiley & Sons
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