In their article on “Correlation of foodstuffs with ethanol-water mixtures with regard to solubility of migrants from food contact materials” published online on January 23, 2014, in the peer-reviewed journal Food Additives & Contaminants: Part A, Annika Seiler from the Fraunhofer Institute for Process Engineering and Packaging (IVV) at Freising, Germany and colleagues from five other European institutes present a novel method for determining migration from low-density polyethylene films (LDPE) into foodstuffs. The measured partition coefficients (KPackaging/Food) were correlated with migration into different food simulants of various water and ethanol mixtures. The study was carried out in order to improve predictions within the EU funded FACET (Flavours, Additives, and Food Contact Material Exposure Task) migration modelling framework research project.

Instead of measuring time and temperature dependent migration of chemicals in analytically difficult food matrices, the researchers determined the reduction of migrants from spiked LDPE polymer foil samples after contact with either food samples or food simulants. The LDPE foil samples were spiked with four groups of typical additives: (1) the ultraviolet light absorber (UVA) Chimasorb® 81 (2-hydroxy-4-n-octyloxybenzophenone; CAS 1843-05-6), the pesticide and growth inhibitor DIPN (2,6-diisopropyl naphthalene; CAS 24157-81-1) and the heat resistant fluorescent whitening agent Uvitex OB (2,5-bis(5-tert-butyl-2-benzoxazolyl)thiophene; CAS 7128-64-5); (2) the plasticizer DINP (diisononylphtalate; CAS 28553-12-0 and 68515-48-0), the non-phthalate plasticizer DINCH (1,2-cyclohexane dicarboxylic acid diisononyl ester; CAS 166412-78-8) and the antioxidant Irganox 1076 (octadecyl-3-(3,5)-di-tert-butyl-4-hydroxy-phenyl) propionate; CAS 2082-79-3); (3) the antioxidant BHT (2,6-di-tert-butyl-p-cresol; CAS 128-37-0), the UVA and photo initiator Bz (benzophenone; CAS 119-61-9), DEHA (bis(2-ethylhexyl) adipate; CAS 103-23-1), Chimasorb® 81 and  the heat and light resistant plasticizer DiBP (Diisobutyl phthalate; CAS 84-69-5); (4) Bz, the migration simulant DPBD (trans,trans-1,4-diphenyl-1,3-butadiene; CAS 538-81-8) and Uvitex OB.

Partition coefficients were determined at two or three temperatures and for various time periods. Around 700 experiments were carried out with up to five repeats in at least two different laboratories. Seiler and colleagues established migration coefficients for 35 FACET food samples composed of varying contents of fat, water and carbohydrate, like apple sauce, yoghurt, sausage, chocolate spread, margarine and olive oil, just to name a few. The study confirmed that the food’s fat content is the major determinant for migration of lipophilic compounds. However, for fatty foods with different fat content the same partition coefficients were found. This indicates that above a certain fat content migration is no longer directly proportional to lipid levels in food.


Seiler et al. (published online January 23, 2014) “Correlation of foodstuffs with ethanol-water mixtures with regard to solubility of migrants from food contact materialsFood Additives & Contaminants: Part A