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Safety assessment of the process SML Maschinengesellschaft, based on SML technology, used to recycle post‐consumer PET into food contact materials


The EFSA Panel on Food Contact Materials, Enzymes and Processing Aids (CEP) assessed the safety of the recycling process SML Maschinengesellschaft (EU register number RECYC203), which uses the SML technology. The input is hot caustic washed and dried poly(ethylene terephthalate) (PET) flakes mainly originating from collected post‐consumer PET containers, with no more than 5% PET from non‐food consumer applications. The flakes are heated in an infrared (IR) dryer, then dried with hot air and extruded with vacuum degassing to sheets or pellets. Having examined the challenge test provided, the Panel concluded that the infrared drying (step 2), air drying (step 3) and extrusion (step 4) are critical in determining the decontamination efficiency of the process. The operating parameters to control the performance of these critical steps are temperature and residence time for all steps, air flow rate for step 3 and pressure for step 4. The Panel concluded that this recycling process is able to ensure that the level of migration of potential unknown contaminants into food is below the conservatively modelled migration of (a) 0.1 μg/kg food, exposure scenario for infants, when such recycled PET is used at up to 50% in mixture with virgin PET and of (b) 0.15 μg/kg food, exposure scenario for toddlers, for contact with all types of foodstuffs except for packaged water at up to 80%, for long‐term storage at room temperature, with or without hotfill, and at up to 100% for storage under frozen and refrigerated conditions. Therefore, the Panel concluded that the recycled PET produced by this process is not of safety concern when used under the evaluated conditions. The final articles made of this recycled PET are not intended to be used in microwave and conventional ovens and such uses are not covered by this evaluation.

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