Could recycled cereal boxes pose a cancer risk?

9 March 2011

New research conducted by scientists in Switzerland has shown that many recycled cereal boxes contain up to 100 times more cancer-causing chemicals than is deemed safe.

The study was conducted on behalf of the German authorities who wanted to uncover the level of dangerous mineral oils in common supermarket products.

Mineral oils are found in printer inks and the use of recycled newspapers in the production of environmentally-friendly cereal boxes is believed to be the cause of the problem.

Leading UK cereal manufacturer Jordans has already dropped its recycled packaging to reduce the risk of toxic mineral oils finding its way into its cereals.

Dr Koni Grob, of the Food Safety Laboratory in Zurich, said the main risk factors associated with mineral oils are chronic inflammation of internal organs and cancer.

She claimed that the potential for mineral oils to make it into the food chain was "frightening".

The study was published in the journal of European Food Research and Technology.

1 Grob, Koni et al. "Migration of mineral oil from printed paperboard into dry foods: survey of the German market". European Food Research and Technology. March 2011.

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