On July 9, 2019, the non-governmental organization (NGO) the Danish Consumer Council announced the results of a study examining single-use food contact packaging articles for the presence of primary aromatic amines (PAAs) and UV filters. The study selected 76 food packaging articles from around the EU covering a range of paper and board packaging types including coffee cups, napkins, plates, straws, and pasta packaging. All of the chosen packaging was highly colorful with the aim to understand the presence of chemicals from printing inks. The results show that in 13 of the items PAAs were detected above the detection limit, with 9 of them having concentrations above recommended levels. “PAAs were found in virtually all of the product types tested. However, for all the product types there were also products without.” In addition, “a relatively high content of different UV-filters and other substances that may originate from the printing ink was found in 21 of the 76 tested products.”

Regulation No. 10/2011 of plastic food contact materials in the EU defines that PAAs should not be released in a detectable quantity into food or food simulant, and a current limit of detection is set at 0.01 mg/kg. The highest PAA concentration found in the tested paper packaging within this study was reported as being 6.5 times above this limit. Recently, calls have been made for the EU to create harmonized legislation for paper and board food packaging by both industry groups (FPF reported) and by NGOs (FPF reported). A study also recently found elevated concentrations of chloropropanols, mineral oil hydrocarbons, and photoinitiators in paper drinking straws (FPF reported).

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Danish Consumer Council (July 9, 2019). “Test: Unwanted chemicals in colorful food packaging.”