A systematic evidence map to explore migrating and extractable food contact chemicals
A systematic evidence map to explore migrating and extractable food contact chemicals
The novel Database on Migrating and Extractable Food Contact Chemicals (FCCmigex) systematically maps the scientific evidence of food contact chemicals (FCCs) that have been measured in migrates and extracts of food contact materials and articles. It was compiled by a team of researchers from the Food Packaging Forum together with colleagues from eight academic institutions. The scientists analyzed 1,210 scientific studies that resulted from a systematic literature search and passed a two-phase screening process. In total, the database contains more than 3,000 food contact chemicals and over 22,000 database entries.
All FCCs in the database were investigated either for their presence in food contact materials, or for their propensity to transfer into food under real-world conditions, thus making human exposure to these chemicals highly probable. Importantly, only one third of FCCs that were detected in these studies were previously known to be used in the manufacture of food contact materials. And of all the materials investigated, 60% of the studies were on plastics with 1,976 different chemicals detected.
The FCCmigex database is a product of the ongoing Food Contact Chemicals and Human Health (FCCH) Project led by the Food Packaging Forum. A peer-reviewed, open-access article in the scientific journal Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition provides detailed information about the compilation of the database and summarizes some of the key information. All data are accessible via the interactive tool below.
Food packaging and other food contact articles, such as processing equipment and kitchen utensils, can release chemicals into food. This process of chemical migration causes chronic human exposure to chemicals and can lead to adverse health effects. Until now, human exposure assessment for food contact chemicals (FCCs) has primarily focused on a few dozen chemicals of concern, such as bisphenols, phthalates, mineral oil hydrocarbons, and heavy metals. However, thousands of FCCs are intentionally added during the manufacture of food contact materials and articles and even more FCCs may be present in the final articles.
The freely available, interactive tool below allows you to use the FCCmigex database in an easily accessible and searchable way. We recommend using the Chrome, Brave, or Edge web browsers when using the tool. The Mozilla Firefox browser sometimes results in display errors.
Getting started: Select from the home screen below to either explore (i) chemical data or (ii) reference data. The tool can be expanded into full-screen mode by clicking the double sided arrow in the bottom right corner. Check out the video on the right for a quick introduction on how to search the tool and find the data you’re most interested in.
The interactive tool above allows you to search and filter the data on food contact chemicals (FCCs) that have been measured in the migrates and extracts of many different food contact materials (FCMs) and articles (FCAs). There are two separate views within the tool: (1) the data view and (2) the references view.
In the data view, you are shown aggregated information on an almost countless number of questions related to FCCs, FCMs, FCAs, and beyond. Here are a few examples of possible questions that are answered by selecting the appropriate filters in the tool:
The reference view shows you which published studies are the source of the data. In the reference view, you can apply the same search and selection criteria as in the data view. There is also the option to search for authors and title keywords. The list of references shown summarizes all relevant sources that provide information about the filtered criteria. Example questions you can answer in this view are:
The DOI or another URL is included for most articles to quickly link to the underlying references. At the moment, the complete or filtered reference lists cannot be exported.
The FCCmigex database contains over 20’000 database entries. Database entries can be thought of as rows in a large table.
Each database entry refers to a food contact chemical that was identified in a specific reference. A database entry also tells us in which food contact material and food contact article this food contact chemical was investigated. Finally, each entry is linked to information about the experimental setup and whether the chemical was detected or not. Therefore, the most important columns in the table of database entries have the following headings: Reference | Food Contact Chemical | Food Contact Material | Food Contact Article | Type of Experiment | Evidence of Detection
The number of database entries per reference varies greatly. For example, a reference which reports only one food contact chemical that was measured in one sample and using only one experimental setup will have just 1 database entry. But a reference that includes multiple material samples and applies untargeted analyses can generate several hundred database entries.
It is also important to note that multiple database entries can sometimes differ only by the reference if the experiments in the referenced studies were designed similarly.
For some investigated food contact chemicals, we could not assign a CAS number during the screening process. In the interactive tool, we have only included food contact chemicals where a CAS number could be identified or for those FCCs that are mineral oil hydrocarbons. As a consequence, the total number of database entries and references is lower in the interactive tool than the reported total numbers in the peer-reviewed article published in the journal Critical Reviews in Food Science. Please contact the Food Packaging Forum if you are interested in information on FCCs without CAS numbers.
In the future, we may still make small edits to the underlying data of the interactive tool to improve consistency which might lead to minor changes in absolute numbers.
It is easiest and most reliable to search for the exact CAS number of the food contact chemical you are interested in. Many chemicals have synonyms that may not be found in the FCCmigex database when searching just by the chemical name. Please be aware, that per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are listed under the name and CAS number of the free acid, not the salt(s).
Saturated mineral hydrocarbons (MOSH) and aromatic mineral hydrocarbons (MOAH) are the only chemical mixtures that have been included in the FCCmigex database and that do not have a CAS number. This was decided based on the high number of migration and extraction studies published on these chemical groups. The database does not include information on other poorly-defined chemical mixtures.
If you cannot find a chemical in the database for which you have evidence that it has been measured in FCMs and/or FCAs, please let us know. Currently, the FCCmigex database includes studies published until June 2021. For more information on how the literature was searched and screened, see the published journal article.
No, the FCCmigex database does not include any information on the concentrations of FCCs that were measured in migrates and extracts. However, the reference view of the tool above allows you to find the original scientific references for all database entries where you can extract this information.
In all works that reference the FCCmigex database, please cite both the Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition journal article as well as this website:
Geueke B, Groh KJ, Maffini MV, Martin OV, Boucher JM, Chiang YT, Gwosdz F, Jieh P, Kassotis CD, Lanska P, Myers JP, Odermatt A, Parkinson LV, Schreier VN, Srebny V, Zimmermann L, Scheringer M and Muncke J (2022) “Systematic Evidence on migrating and extractable Food Contact Chemicals: Most Chemicals detected in Food Contact Materials are not listed for Use” Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, DOI: 10.1080/10408398.2022.2067828
Food Packaging Forum Foundation (2022) “FCCmigex Database.” https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/fccmigex
We aim to update the database periodically in the future, however exact timelines are not yet finalized. Accurate curation of such a complex systematic dataset requires significant time and resources. We will provide information when new data are included in the FCCmigex database on this website and via our newsletter.
For suggestions, we appreciate constructive feedback to help us improve the database and tool. Please fill out this short survey to share your thoughts with us.
Geueke B, Groh KJ, Maffini MV, Martin OV, Boucher JM, Chiang YT, Gwosdz F, Jieh P, Kassotis CD, Lanska P, Myers JP, Odermatt A, Parkinson LV, Schreier VN, Srebny V, Zimmermann L, Scheringer M and Muncke J. 2022, Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition; DOI: 10.1080/10408398.2022.2067828
Gerassimidou S., Lanska P, Hahladakis JN, Lovat E, Vanzetto S, Geueke B, Groh KJ, Muncke J, Maffini M, Martin OV, and Iacovidou E. 2022, Journal of Hazardous Materials; DOI: 10.1016/j.jhazmat.2022.128410
Martin OV, Geueke B, Groh KJ, Chevrier J, Fini J-B, Houlihan J, Kassotis C, Myers P, Nagel SC, Pelch KE, Sargis RM, Trasande L, Vandenberg LN, Wagner M, Maffini MV, Muncke J. 2018, Zenodo, DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.2525277
The work presented here is part of the Food Contact Chemicals and Human health (FCCH) Project. The FCCH project is funded by project-related grants from Sympany Foundation, MAVA Foundation, and Fondation Valery, as well as by the Food Packaging Forum’s (FPF) own resources from unrestricted donations.
The consumer of these data (“Data User” herein) has an ethical obligation to cite it appropriately in any publication that results from its use. The Data User should realize that these data may be actively used by others for ongoing research and that coordination may be necessary to prevent duplicate publication. The Data User is urged to contact the authors of these data if any questions about methodology or results occur. Where appropriate, the Data User is encouraged to consider collaboration or coauthorship with the authors. The Data User should realize that misinterpretation of data may occur if used out of context of the original study. While substantial efforts are made to ensure the accuracy of data and associated documentation, complete accuracy of data sets cannot be guaranteed. All data are made available “as is.” The Data User should be aware, however, that data are updated periodically and it is the responsibility of the Data User to check for new versions of the data. The data authors and the repository where these data were obtained shall not be liable for damages resulting from any use or misinterpretation of the data. Thank you.
(Borrowed from the LTER Network data access policy.)