The new extraction solvent 2-methyloxolane received a positive opinion from the EFSA Panel on Food Contact Materials, Enzymes and Processing Aids (CEP) under the intended conditions of use and proposed maximum residue limits (MRLs). This is great news for the safety and sustainability of food manufacturing as 2-methyloxolance will replace hexane, which is harmful to human health, in many food applications. Instead of hexane, 2-methyloxolane is mainly intended to be used for the extraction of lipids from various oil- and protein-rich plant sources as well as for extraction of natural aromas, flavours, antioxidants and colorants.
In case you are wondering why you have never read hexane in the list of ingredients – solvents are used as processing aids, which are excluded from labelling. Nevertheless, residues remain in the final product. Methyloxane has already been used for several years for the production of pharmaceuticals as it is categorized as solvent with low toxic potential. The recent studies carried out by the applicant confirm this, so EFSA considers that 2-methyloxolane does not raise concerns for genotoxicity. Within the safety assessment, the panel established a Tolerable Daily Intake (TDI) of 1 mg/kg bodyweight per day for 2-Methyloxolane, which was not exceeded even in the worst-case scenario.