A German food watchdog on Monday is pushing for the recall of Kinder chocolate bars, among other snacks, after testing positive for containing a substance which could have links to cancer.
Foodwatch reported mineral oil aromatic hydrocarbons (MOAH), a byproduct from the oil refinement process, all too often finds its way into products for sale in supermarkets.
After testing 20 products ranging from potato crisps to chocolate bars, foodwatch found that three contained what it deemed “dangerous” levels of MOAHs.
Kinder Riegel chocolate bars, Ferrero Nougat Minis, and Sun Rice Classic Schokohappen all tested positive with MOAHs.
“There is no acceptable levels of mineral oils in food for consumption,” Johannes Heeg, a foodwatch campaigner told The Local, citing the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) as well as the National Institute of Risk Assessment (BfR).
The EFSA considers MOAHs “likely carcinogenic and mutagenic”.
“You can't see it, you can't taste it, but it's in there,” Heeg, a foodwatch campaigner told The Local.
“We recommend not purchasing these products because the levels are simply unacceptable for consumption.”
MOAHs are often transferred into foods through recycled paper that had once been printed on with inks that contain the oils and are not formally banned as food packaging.
However, the Association of the German Confectionary Agency (BDSI) said that there was no reason to panic or recall the products.
“The chemicals are found in the packaging,” Dr. Torben Erbrath, head of the BDSI told The Local on Monday. “Not just in the wrappers, but in the individual packaging, in the transportation packaging. It's a result of recycled paper being used.”
In a press release from last week, the BDSI said that the amounts reported by foodwatch in its regular testing could “be consumed without concern”.
However, Heeg says that BDSI is being too dismissive of foodwatch's research.
“There is no acceptable levels of mineral oils in food,” he said.
Erbrath said that while a law against MOAHs has been in discussion for years, it was not moving forward anytime soon.
“There are powerful lobbyists that are, unfortunately, convincing the politicians to put the interests of business ahead of the consumer,” said Heeg.