Bio-based solvent methyloxolane now allowed for use in food in Europe

Methyloxolane is a bio-based solvent for the extraction of vegetable oils, plant proteins, and other natural ingredients that is produced from agricultural by-products such as sugarcane bagasse.

The Minafin Group (Mont-Saint-Guibert, Belgium) has announced that the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) issued a positive opinion on the use of methyloxolane in food processing. Methyloxolane is a bio-based solvent for the extraction of vegetable oils, plant proteins, and other natural ingredients that is produced from agricultural by-products such as sugarcane bagasse. According to the Minafin Group, the solvent’s carbon footprint is only 10% of the petrochemical solvents it replaces.

The EFSA Panel of experts reported that the solvent is safe to use in the food industry, based on the review of a full application dossier including state-of-the-art scientific studies performed under OECD’s latest standards. EFSA’s opinion allows methyloxolane to be added to the 20 solvents approved for food use in Europe.

The Minafin Group hopes that this opens the door 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, world-wide. 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, which is a business unit of The Minafin Group.

“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,” adds 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.”