Mineral oil hydrocarbon (MOH) contaminants can be found in foods such as cereals, baked goods, fats and oils, coffee and many more. MOH can be introduced through process aids, additives, and machine- and lubricating oils used during food processing. Packaging such as jute bags used to store and transport foods, recycled cardboard, and printing inks are other major sources of MOH contamination. MOH are separated into Mineral Oil Saturated Hydrocarbons (MOSH) and Mineral Oil Aromatic Hydrocarbons (MOAH). Some MOAH are known carcinogens and MOSH are known to accumulate in human body tissue. Subsequently, food products should be analyzed and monitored for their presence.
Determination of MOSH and MOAH in food extracts involves the use of a coupled LC-GC-FID system. The analysis system used for the work presented here includes a GERSTEL Early Vapor Exit in which excess HPLC eluent is removed from the MOSH and MOAH fractions before they are transferred to their respective GC separation columns. Accurate and reproducible analysis results for MOSH and MOAH in various food extracts are achieved very efficiently using the GERSTEL MOSH/MOAH software to integrate the unresolved complex mixtures.