Germany’s Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) recently held its Ninth Forum on Consumer Protection in Berlin, where 300 participants discussed the alleged health risks of recycled materials used in food packaging.

More specifically, the meeting focused on cardboard packaging made from recycled paper, which evidently contains mineral oils used in newspaper ink that can migrate “in relevant amounts into the packaged foods.” While acknowledging that a final assessment “is not yet possible,” BfR has cited animal tests suggesting that these mineral oil residues “are deposited in the liver and lymph nodes and could damage these organs.” It has thus recommended minimizing the migration of these oils into foods. “This concerns dry foods with a large surface such as rice, semolina, corn flakes and noodles,” states the BfR press release. “As a possibility, the BfR Forum discussed the use of liner bags, for example made of aluminum coated plastics, in carton packages, which could act as a barrier to the migration of mineral oils.”