Finland-based VTT, the leading technical research institute in the Nordic countries, has come up with a new bio-based mineral oil barrier for use in food packaging. The invention tackles an issue that first became manifest in 2011: the migration of mineral oils into foods packaged in paper and board.
The main source of these mineral oils are thought to be the materials used for packaging, especially recycled paper and board, as these can contain ink from the newspapers that were recycled to make the cardboard boxes.
The mineral oils in question are divided into two groups: mineral oil saturated hydrocarbons (MOSH) and mineral oil aromatic hydrocarbons (MOAH). Recycled cardboard contains different types of mineral oils, including those found in solvents, waxes and adhesives, which usually migrate by evaporating into gases that slowly enter foodstuffs over time.