Safety assessment of the process INTCO MALAYSIA, based on the EREMA Basic technology, used to recycle post-consumer PET into food contact materials

EFSA J. 2022 May 10;20(5):e07232. doi: 10.2903/j.efsa.2022.7232. eCollection 2022 May.

Abstract

The EFSA Panel on Food Contact Materials, Enzymes and Processing Aids (CEP) assessed the safety of the recycling process INTCO MALAYSIA (EU register number RECYC236), which uses the EREMA Basic technology. The input material is hot caustic washed and dried poly(ethylene terephthalate) (PET) flakes originating from collected post-consumer PET containers, including no more than 5% PET from non-food consumer applications. The flakes are heated in a continuous reactor under vacuum before being extruded. Having examined the challenge test provided, the Panel concluded that the continuous reactor (step 2, for which a challenge test was provided) is critical in determining the decontamination efficiency of the process. The operating parameters to control the performance of this step are temperature, pressure and residence time. It was demonstrated that this recycling process is able to ensure a level of migration of potential unknown contaminants into food below the conservatively modelled migration of 0.1 μg/kg food, derived from the exposure scenario for infants when such recycled PET is used at up to 100%. Therefore, the Panel concluded that the recycled PET obtained from this process is not considered to be of safety concern when used at up to 100% for the manufacture of materials and articles for contact with all types of foodstuffs, including drinking water, for long-term storage at room temperature. Articles made of this recycled PET are not intended to be used in microwave and conventional ovens and such uses are not covered by this evaluation.

Keywords: EREMA Basic; INTCO MALAYSIA SDN BHD; food contact materials; plastic; poly(ethylene terephthalate) (PET); recycling process; safety assessment.