Analysis of Mineral Oils (MOSH/POSH/MOAH)
Today mineral oil is found in a wide variety of foodstuffs as it can enter food commodities as well as processed products anywhere along the food processing and trade chain. Potential sources are fuels, exhaust fumes, lubricant oils, anti-dusting agents, surface treatment agents, batching oils, packaging materials etc. Food manufacturers and distributors as well as analytical laboratories are faced with enormous challenges when trying to elucidate the source and point of contamination.
Relevant food groups for mineral oil contaminations include rice, cereal flours, cereals, chocolate products, spices (e.g. pepper), fats and oils as well as further processed foods.
MOSH, MOAH, POSH
The mineral oil fraction of concern consists mainly of complex mixtures of hydrocarbons (C10 up to C50) mainly of fossil origin.Mineral oils of technical grade are composed of Mineral Oil Saturated Hydrocarbons (MOSH) as well as about 15-35 % Mineral Oil Aromatic Hydrocarbons (MOAH). Contrary to the structurally related and cancerogenic PAH, MOAH are complex mixtures of compounds with differing and mainly unknown toxicities. In addition to the mineral oil fractions MOSH and MOAH, the so called POSH (polyolefinic oligomeric saturated hydrocarbons) move more and more into the spotlight. These are oligomeric substances, potentially migrating from plastic packagings (PE and PP).
Our experts from the Competence Centre for Organic Contaminants have long-term experience with the analysis of mineral oils from food matrices. A new online-HPLC-GC technique enables the separate quantification of MOSH/POSH and MOAH within one chromatographic run.
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