An article published on June 11, 2018 in the peer-reviewed journal Food Additives & Contaminants: Part A addressed migration of primary aromatic amines (PAAs) from colored napkins into food.

Stefan Merkel and colleagues from the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR), Berlin, Germany first evaluated transfer of 26 PAAs from 12 colored napkin samples into cold water extracts (CWE). CWEs were prepared by incubating napkin pieces in cold water for 24 hours. In these experiments, three napkins were found to release more than 0.01 mg/kg PAAs into the CWE.

These three napkin samples were then tested for transfer of seven PAAs into four different food types. The tested foods were cucumber, rice, pickled gherkin, and butter cookie, representing wet, dry, acidic, and fatty food, respectively. For migration experiments, the food was wrapped in a single napkin, covered with aluminum foil and stored at 25°C. The samples containing cucumber, rice, or cookie were stored for 24 hours, while the samples containing pickled gherkin were stored for one hour.

In most cases, the results obtained with CWEs and in the experiments with real food were either comparable, or CWEs overestimated the real migration. Only in one case, namely the transfer of aniline (CAS 62-53-3) into pickled gherkin, the CWE was found to underestimate the real migration.

The authors conclude that “the CWE serves as adequate and certainly not overestimating simulation of reality for the tested transfer of PAAs into the food samples.”


Merkel, S., et al. (2018). “Transfer of primary aromatic amines from coloured paper napkins into four different food matrices and into cold water extracts.Food Additives & Contaminants: Part A (published June 11, 2018).