A scientific study published online on January 9, 2015 in the peer-reviewed journal Food Additives & Contaminants: Part A assessed migration of hydrocarbon contaminants into dry semolina and egg pasta packed in recycled paperboard. The team of Italian researchers focused on migration of mineral oil saturated hydrocarbons (MOSH), mineral oil aromatic hydrocarbons (MOAH), polyalphaolefins (PAO, co-eluting with MOSH) and diisopropyl naphthalenes (DIPN). The authors monitored migration of the target chemicals under (i) storage conditions in supermarkets, where packs are standing on shelves, (ii) storage conditions preventing external influences (packs wrapped in aluminum foil), and (iii) storage conditions in warehouses, where packs are stored in cardboard boxes. The results show that the nature of the food influenced the contaminant levels. After two years of storage, semolina pasta stored on shelves reached 3.2 and 0.6 mg/kg of MOSH and MOAH, respectively. For the egg pasta, contamination levels were higher, and after two years reached 14.5 and 2.0 mg/kg for MOSH and MOAH, respectively. The external environment was a high contributor to these levels, which were found in egg pasta stored on shelves. By contrast, egg pasta covered with aluminum foil as a protective barrier reached a constant MOSH content around 8 mg/kg already after two months of contact (similar trend observed for MOAH and DIPN). The authors stress that in the EU harmonized legislation is not yet available for the use of recycled paper in food contact materials.

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Barp, L. et al. (2015). “Migration of selected hydrocarbon contaminants into dry pasta packaged in direct contact with recycled paperboard.Food Additives & Contaminants: Part A (published online January 9, 2015).