There is a much-voiced concern in the global food and beverage industry against the use of mineral oils in the product manufacturing and packaging process. These ultimately may affect human consumption safety, whenever contamination with the package contents occurs. In this post, we address the safer alternatives for dry lubricants in the packaging process.

Conveyor lubrication uses dry lubricants, which may contain some form of mineral oils. Dry lubricants are usually used on package conveyors to decrease and eliminate any liquid spillages in the packaging process, and improve the package adherence and system flow. It is important to note that in the industry, injury due to slips and falls on the manufacturing plant floor can occur as a result of wet or contaminated floors. The use of oil-based lubricants becomes essential to address this issue, among others.

However, regulations concerning the use of mineral oils and mineral oil-based lubricants in the packaging industry call for new alternatives. In line with the motion of the control of mineral oils in food and other everyday products lodged to the European Parliament, manufacturers are advised to avoid product contamination with mineral oils, which are deemed hazardous for the human body.

While the anti-mineral oils policy is gaining support overseas, South African manufacturers should make provisions to find safer avenues in the use of oils and lubricants, despite the lack of legislation at a nationwide level.

All Mineral oils are primarily composed of two chemically and structurally discrete types of fraction. The first fraction (proportion: 75% to 85%) is made up of MOSH (Mineral Oil Saturated Hydrocarbons), while the second fraction (proportion: 15% to 25%) is composed of MOAH (Mineral Oil Aromatic Hydrocarbons). Both these are considered harmful.

Specifically, mineral oil saturated hydrocarbons (MOSH) collect in the organs, which can have adverse effects on health, whereas mineral oil aromatic hydrocarbons (MOAH) are mutagens that affect the hormonal system.

Download the proposed resolution here.

The resolution extends to mineral oils found in packaging and in lubricants for machinery used to process food. The manufacturers should take into account the possible contamination by MOSH and MOAH of packaging material.

One area of specific concern is the paper board packaging industry, where mineral oils can enter the product from the board recycling process. The process aids on the packaging can also be ingested. There is a possibility for MOSH/MOAH contamination of all packaging processes where these oils may be used in inks adhesives or as process aids.

The safer alternative to the PTFE-based food grade lubricant RM2000T, namely the RM2000MMF, is a MOAH- and MOSH-free lubricant. It can ultimately replace the mineral oil-based RM2000T® on existing dosing systems and avoid contamination of packaging material. Performance and economy will not be affected.

Download the RM2000MMF product safety sheet.

Thanks to our partners, Plastic and Chemical Trading offers specialised solutions tailor-made for the packaging industry, including dry lubrication. Our system is guaranteed for five years and wholly owned by the customer. You pay only for what you use.

The new RM2000MMF lubricant yields the same performance and economy at the same price per litre as its predecessor RM2000T®.

Speak to our consultants at Plastic and Chemical Trading for advanced dry lube solutions that work.