Global speciality oils and fats supplier Bunge Loders Croklaan has lowered 3-MCPDE levels in its oils portfolio ahead of expected European legislation, the company announced on 21 April.

The European Commission (EC) was expected to place new, stricter maximum levels on 3-MCPDEs (3-monochloropropanediol esters) in all vegetable and fish oils incorporated into foodstuffs, such as processed cereal-based foods for toddlers, out of concern for the health of young children, especially those aged between one and three years. These substances were potentially harmful and occurred when vegetable oils were exposed to high temperatures in the refining process.

New legal limits for vegetable oils in those product categories would be 750µg/kg for 3-MCPDe. This legislation was expected to become effective in January 2021, Bunge said.

Other categories of the new regulations would set maximum 3-MCPDE limits for products intended for general consumers to 1,250µg/kg for named, non-virgin oils and to 2,500µg/kg for all other oils, including palm, shea and fish oil. These new 3-MCPDE limits would be complementary to existing glycidyl ester (GE) levels that had been in place since 2018.

Speaking about the company’s move, David Vandermeersch, vice president of Bunge Loders Croklaan in Europe, said: “We are positioned to ensure food companies can transition smoothly into conformity with the regulations by January 2021.

“We also will serve companies that, irrespective of the looming regulations, are seeking the lowest levels of 3-MCPDE and GE on the market. We can tailor our full portfolio of oil offerings to meet their specific needs and clean-label aspirations.”

The tighter food safety regulations would largely impact food companies operating in the bakery, confectionery, and infant food and formula sectors. Manufacturers would need to realign the fat formulation of their products to meet the new standards before the January 2021 deadlines.