The European Commission plans to issue a regulation later this year that will limit the concentration of 3-monochloropropanediol esters (3-MCPDe) – a chemical by-product toxic to the kidneys and testes in high dosages – in fish vegetable oils sold within the bloc.
Once approved, the 3-MCPD maximum limit regulation will come into force in January 2021.
In order to help the industry ‘transition smoothly’ to these new requirements, oil specialist Bunge Loders Croklaan revealed it has strengthened mitigation of 3-MCPDe in its oils portfolio.
“We are positioned to ensure food companies can transition smoothly into conformity with the regulations by January, 2021,” explained David Vandermeersch, VP of Bunge Loders Croklaan in Europe. “We also will serve companies that, irrespective of the looming regulations, are seeking the lowest levels of 3-MCPDe and GE (glycidyl esters) on the market. We can tailor our full portfolio of oil offerings to meet their specific needs and clean-label aspirations.”
The newly tightened food safety regulations will largely impact food companies operating in the bakery, confectionery, and infant food & formula sectors.
The EC’s stricter maximum limits will put a ceiling on 3-MCPDe concentrations of 2.5 milligrams per kilogram (mg/kg) for palm, olive pomace and nut oils and 1.25 mg/kg for rapeseed, maize, sunflower and soybean oil.
More stringent requirements still will be applied to 3-MCPDe levels in all vegetable and fish oils incorporated into foodstuffs, such as processed cereal-based foods for toddlers. This reflects concern for the health implications of consumption among young children, especially those aged 1-3 years. New legal limits for vegetable oils in the above described product categories will be 750µg/kg for 3-MCPDe. The new 3-MCPDe legislation is expected to become effective January, 2021.
Integrated supply and processing innovation
Bunge Loders Croklaan said that new processing advances and the ‘expansive steps’ it has taken throughout its integrated supply chain allow it to offer a range of solutions, including oils below the new standards for 3-MCPDe and GE.
“We work with a select group of mills before the raw materials are transferred to our European refineries, where the oil undergoes a gentle, low-heat refining process,” explained Renee Boerefijn, director of innovation for Bunge Loders Croklaan EMEA.
Over the last five years, the company has invested in hardware and software capabilities in its facilities to reduce levels of the substances. By 2016, Bunge Loders Croklaan was at the forefront in low 3-MCPDe and GE levels for the infant food category – and the company has offered a fully mitigated oils and fats portfolio in Europe since 2017.
The company also developed an analytical technique, measuring contaminants in near real-time that is in the process of becoming an industry standard (ISO/NEN).
“We take advantage of having the industry’s most globally integrated supply chain and can adapt and improve our supply of oils and fats all the way to the point of origin. Combined with our state-of-the art facilities and monitoring techniques, we ensure our products meet the latest food safety and quality standards," Boerefijn commented.
Bunge Loders Croklaan will host a webinar to explain the effect of the new regulation later this month. Further details can be found here.