Italian confectionery company Ferrero has reassured consumers of the safety of its products following the discovery in Germany of mineral oils in the packaging of chocolate products from Ferrero and other chocolate companies.

The move came after the German arm of the European consumer watchdog group, Foodwatch, said it had tested 15 brands of chocolate and five brands of potato chips for mineral oil saturated hydrocarbons (MOSH) and mineral oil aromatic hydrocarbons (MOAH).

Foodwatch said Ferror’s “Kinder Riegel”, Lindt & Sprungli’s “Fioretto Nougat Minis” and “Sun Rice Classic Schoko Happen” from Ruebezahl were among affected products. The group called for the products to be recalled and for limits to be set on MOSH and MOAH.

However, Ferrero said in a statement that that issues related to traces of mineral oils in food have been “known to the competent authorities and the food industry for several years (and) there is as yet no specific regulation on the subject”.

Ferrero said it “will ensure that all its products are safe for consumers” which the company said “fully comply with food safety requirements in all countries where they are marketed, often exceeding them”

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By GlobalData

According to Ferrero: “The problem relates to virtually all food packaging: indeed, minute traces of mineral oils are found everywhere in the environment. All Ferrero packaging fully complies with applicable legislation on food contact materials.”

Ferrero said that “in line with its tradition of continuous improvement”, it is engaged in a review process, launched in 2013, of all its packaging materials, “in order to ensure the highest quality to its consumers”.

Lindt and Ruebezahl could not be contacted for comment.

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) said in a scientific opinion published in 2012 that there were “several uncertainties regarding the chemical composition of mineral oil hydrocarbons (MOH) mixtures to which humans are exposed and also the wide range of sources of human exposure”. The EFSA said then that “on the basis of new information on the lack of toxicological relevance for humans of previous animal studies, the temporary acceptable daily intakes of some “saturated'” MOH present in specific food products warrants revision”.