An article published on May 3, 2017 in the peer-reviewed journal Food and Chemical Toxicology reviewed the literature on the “use of bioassays to assess hazard of food contact material [FCM] extracts.” Isabelle Severin and colleagues from the Derttech “Packtox”, University of Bourgogne Franche-Comte, Dijon, France compiled an overview of the studies that used select assays for cytotoxicity, genotoxicity, and endocrine disruption potential.

The scientists focused mostly on mammalian cell-based assays (humans and rodents), with the exception of yeast-based screens for estrogens and androgens, which were also reviewed. They concluded that “[h]uman cell lines according to the target tissue, the studied endpoint and metabolic activity will be preferred for a better human extrapolation.” With regard to the sample preparation, the scientists emphasized that a biocompatible solvent should be used, and caution should be taken to avoid sample dilution before testing.

Bioassays may “enable a real technological leap into the assessment of the health concern of the finished FCM,” and this approach may be particularly useful in the assessment of the non-intentionally added substances (NIAS), the scientists concluded.


Severin, I., et al. (2017). “Use of bioassays to assess hazard of food contact material extracts: State of the art.Food and Chemical Toxicology 105: 429-447.