Italian researchers have published an article in the peer-reviewed scientific journal Food Additives & Contaminants: Part A on the migration of diethylhexylphthalate (DEHP) and dibutylphthalate (DBP) from polyethyleneterephthalate (PET) and aluminum (Al) dishes into ready-to-eat meals for hospital patients.

Both phthalates were detected in the foods before packaging. By taking samples at 3 different time points the scientists could identify migration from the PET dishes to the heated foods as source of increased phthalate levels in PET-packaged meals. The hot meals packaged in Al trays did not show an increase of DEHP, DBP compared to the food’s phthalate levels prior to packaging.

Before packaging, the meals contained 23 ppb DBP (±2) and 69 ppb DEHP (±41). After 2 h heated storage (temperature range between 40 and 75°C) PET packaged meals had statistically significantly increased concentrations of both phthalates (DBP levels 73 ppb (±49), DEHP levels 144 ppb (±92)).

Cirillo et al. 2012 “Study on influence of temperature, storage time and packaging type on dibutylphthalate and di(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate release into packaged meals”