Position of the food industry on the notification of a German “Mineral oil ordinance”

- Notification of the draft German “Mineral oil ordinance” issued by the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) provokes strong criticism from the German and European food and packaging sectors because it is pursuing an outdated and unjustified unilateral approach.

Importers of goods to Germany will seriously be affected by the impacts of the ordinance. The sector therefore calls on the member states to press within the TRIS procedure for a renunciation of this measure in order to protect their commercial groups and the free movement of goods within the single market. Industry also appeals to the European Commission to adopt a clear position against Germany’s pre-empting of developments in Community law and to commit to a uniform, appropriate, modern and scientifically guided concept in dealing with mineral oil contaminants (MOAH).

The German ordinance project is outdated and ignores the current level of knowledge and goodmanufacturing practices:

  • The complex routes of entry for MOAH all over the process chains call for many differentiated solutions and not for sweeping measures only relating to paper and cardboard packaging.
  • Effective aids (toolboxes) exist for the treatment of all potential routes of entry into food, raw materials, packaging materials and components at all relevant stages of the value added chain, which have led to proven success in minimization.
  • “MOH benchmark levels” jointly drawn up and recommended by business and food control and inspection organizations are up to date and recognized as a basis for assessment. Irrespective of the source, no relevant occurrence of MOAH can be determined in foods.

The German ordinance damages the European economy and the single market:

  • Costs associated with the high effort required for fulfilment will also have a lasting effect on importers in the EU.
  • No provision is made for the recognition and free marketing of products compliant with EU law.

The proposed German ordinance contradicts the European way of developing community law andharmonized consumer protection:

  • Ongoing EU monitoring and the EFSA risk assessment for MOAH as contaminants are delivering current data for the action required.
  • A credible, consistent sustainability policy in the sense of the Green Deal breaches the additional
  • use of barrier and composite materials to the detriment of recycling.
  • The amendment to the EU framework regulation on food contact materials has priority.

A German version of this position is available here.