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Investigation of migration from paper and board into food-development of methods for rapid testing

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A range of paper and board materials including carton board, corrugated board, napkins and paper towels intended for contact with food have been solvent extracted and substances present at the highest levels identified and quantified by GC/MS. Dibutyl phthalate, and diisopropylnaphthalene (DIPN) were selected to study migration to food and potential food simulants with the aim of developing a simple quick test that will give an equivalent or higher result. Tenax was found to be a suitable food simulant for dry foods and dry 'fatty foods' such as pastry and cake and was also found to be a suitable simulant for pizza base tested at higher temperatures for short contact times. The percentage migration values from corrugated and carton boards were generally in the range 15-40%, with the highest percentage being 49% for rice using conditions representing ambient storage. Quick tests were developed using Tenax under accelerated conditions of 4h at 80 C to cover room temperature storage with dry foods and fatty dry foods. These tests are suitable for compliance testing of paperboard samples if migration limits are applied in future legislation. Migration from tissues, napkins and paper towels was found to be at very low or not detectable levels, even when the levels of DIPN and DBP were significant. It is strongly suspected that this finding is due to a combination of short contact time, low grammage and the fact that the tissues absorb fat and moisture from foods, thus minimizing extraction from the paper. In all cases, the results from migration experiments into food and Tenax indicate that for the substances found at highest concentrations in the paper, currently accepted safety limits were not exceeded where they exist in EU legislation or in working documents applying to plastics.
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Keywords: FOOD CONTACT; MIGRATION; PAPER AND BOARD; QUICK TESTS; RECYCLED PAPER

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Pira International

Publication date: January 1, 2001

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