Mineral oil

Contamination of vegetable oils/fats with mineral oil can have several causes, e.g. previous cargo of the ship’s tank or tank truck if not well cleaned, spillage of lubricating oil during transport of the oil seeds to the factory and during further processing.

Foodstuffs can be contaminated by mineral oil as a result of migration from the cardboard in which the goods are packed.
Cardboard may be produced from recycled newspaper which contain residues of printing ink, dissolved in mineral oil.
Also the printing on jute bags, as well as impregnation of the jute with mineral oil are possible causes.

Composition of mineral oil

Mineral oil consists of a complex mixture of hydrocarbons. The main composition is aliphatic hydrocarbons (MOSH) and aromatic hydrocarbons (MOAH).
In general about 80% is aliphatic and about 20% is aromatic.

Legal requirements

At this moment there is no maximum limit of MOSH and MOAH within European legislation.
However in Germany, the authorities propose the following maximum levels:


  • Carton/paper: MOSH - 24 mg/kg / MOAH – 6 mg/kg
  • Foodstuffs: MOSH – 2 mg/kg / MOAH – 0,5 mg/kg


FEDIOL, the Federation representing the European Vegetable Oil and Protein meal Industry, in Brussels has set guidance levels of 5 mg/kg each of MOSH and MOAH as maximum acceptable concentrations.


The analysis of MOSH and MOAH fractions is performed by a very modern technique; online coupled liquid chromatography and gas chromatography.
The separation and clean-up are done by normal phase HPLC, after which the quantification is done by GC with flame ionisation detector.

Your Plus: VERWEY is a specialized laboratory for edible oils & fats, oilsees, nuts & spices and food & feed

Dr. A. Verwey further extends its prospects as an outstanding, innovative and independent laboratory, based in the middle of the harbour of Rotterdam. We are accredited conform ISO 17025 and have further recognitions like FOSFA, NOFOTA, GAFTA, GMP+, FEDIOL, Vernof and ISO 14001 at our disposal. On this basis we offer a fast and flexible service delivering a broad range of analytics from quality checks over contaminants to special analytics with emphasis on edible oils & fats, oilseeds, nuts & spices and food & feed.


Please contact your responsible Customer Service or Sales if you do have any questions.