In a new review article published online on February 5, 2015 in the peer-reviewed journal Food Additives & Contaminants: Part A, researchers from the University of Santiago de Compostela, Spain and the Spanish Agency for Food Safety and Nutrition focus on a class of compounds known as photoinitiators. Ultraviolet (UV) radiation cured inks are often used on food contact materials (FCMs). These inks consist of a mixture of acrylates and photoinitiators. The photoinitiators catalyse the UV initiated polymerisation process that fixes the printing ink onto the FCM surface. Photoinitiators are an important class of migrants. More than 100 incidents of contamination of packaged food with these substances were reported through the Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF) in the EU, the authors stress. In the article, the researchers explain the process of photo-polymerisation and discuss the diversity of potential contaminants together with their degradation products. Further, they review the critical factors affecting the migration process together with analytical methods used for determination of photoinitiators in both food and FCMs. Finally, the authors summarize the current legislations for UV inks in U.S., Europe and Japan.

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Lago, M.A. et al. (2015). “Photoinitiators: a food safety review.Food Additives & Contaminants: Part A (published online February 5, 2015).