Methyloxolane is an innovative, bio-based solvent for the extraction of vegetable oils, plant proteins, and natural ingredients. It is produced from agricultural byproducts (e.g., sugarcane bagasse). Its carbon footprint is only 10% that of the petrochemical solvents it replaces.
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) panel of experts has reported that methyloxolane is a safe solvent for use in the food industry. EFSA’s positive opinion is based on its expert panel’s review of a full application dossier, including state-of-the-art scientific studies performed under the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development's latest standards. The dossier and the expert opinion show that methyloxolane provides unprecedented safety for the consumer. This allows methyloxolane to be added to the 20 solvents approved for food use in Europe (Directive 2009/32/CE). This is a breakthrough with worldwide impact. Except for ethanol, all the other solvents approved for use in food production are totally or partially produced from petroleum.
The use of methyloxolane for extraction will have a huge impact on the safety and the sustainability of food processing in Europe and beyond. It opens the door for an option to eliminate petrochemical residues in the food chain. “We consider ourselves as frontrunners: petroleum-derived hexane has had an unchallenged position as a food industry solvent for over than 50 years, with 1 million tons used each year in food processing, worldwide. We now offer a safe, competitive, and renewable alternative to food businesses committed to eliminating the presence of petrochemical residues in the food chain,” says Laurence Jacques, Director of the EcoXtract Programme.
“The approval of methyloxolane for food applications opens the door for a more efficient extraction process, which increases dramatically oil yield compared to mechanical pressing,” says Jacques. “This results in high-quality oils and defatted, stable protein-rich ingredients for food and feed. Our goal consists in helping the food producers to implement the EcoXtract process to provide safe and clean food for all, with no additional land use for preserving our beautiful and fragile planet."
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