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Survey of chemical migration from food contact packaging materials in Australian food

Food packaging is vital for ensuring foods are not contaminated, providing physical protection and extending the shelf life of foods.

Packaging materials are becoming increasingly complex in their design and composition. As such, the safety of materials is being considered by regulators around the world.

FSANZ is aware of a number of reports about chemicals in food contact packaging that might migrate into the food or liquid inside a package. To assess whether the levels of packaging chemicals in Australian foods and beverages present any health and safety risks, FSANZ undertook a survey of a range of chemicals associated with packaging materials.

A total of 65 foods and beverages packaged in glass, paper, plastic or cans were analysed for chemicals in the survey.

The survey looked at concentrations of a range of chemicals that might migrate from packaging into food including phthalates, perfluorinated compounds, epoxidised soybean oil (ESBO), semicarbazide, acrylonitrile and vinyl chloride.

It builds on the FSANZ survey of bisphenol A (BPA) in foods published in 2010.

What did the survey find?

The survey results were very reassuring with no detections of phthalates, perfluorinated compounds, semicarbazide, acrylonitrile or vinyl chloride in food samples.

ESBO, which is produced from soybean oil and is used in a range of plastics, was detected at very low levels in a small proportion of samples analysed. These levels were well below international migration limits set by the European Union and don’t pose a risk to human health and safety.

Is further testing being done to determine levels of packaging chemicals in foods?

FSANZ will continue to monitor levels of BPA and other chemicals used in food packaging which may migrate into foods and beverages as part of the 24th Australian Total Diet Study.

Survey: Survey of chemical migration from food contact packaging materials in Australian food

Related links

Standard 1.4.3 –Articles and Materials in Contact with Food.

Standard 1.4.1 –Contaminants and Natural Toxicants

Australian Standard for Plastic Materials for Food Contact Use, AS 2070-1999 [1].


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