On April 12, 2016 the EU Reference Laboratory for food contact materials (EURL-FCM) of the European Commission’s (EC) Joint Research Centre (JRC) published a report on precision criteria of analytical techniques for quantification of metals migrated from food contact materials (FCMs). The report presents the results of a proficiency test (PT) organized by the EURL-FCM in the scope an inter-laboratory comparison (ILC). The laboratories involved had to fulfill two exercises. The first exercise of the PT dealt with the quantification of metals, for which migration limits are specified in the plastic FCM regulation (EU) No 10/2011, in a solution of 3% acetic acid as simulant for acidic foods for contact with plastics. Metals of interest included barium (Ba), cobalt (Co), copper (Cu), iron (Fe), manganese (Mn), zinc (Zn), lithium (Li), and antimony (Sb). The second exercise of the PT concerned the quantification of Ba, Co, Mn, lead (Pb), cadmium (Cd), nickel (Ni), arsenic (As), and aluminum (Al) in a solution of 4% acetic acid as simulant for acidic foods for contact with ceramics.
Overall, the outcome of the exercises was satisfactory, the report states. The rate of successful quantification was greater than 90% for all metal elements in both food simulants. The analytical techniques employed by the participating laboratories included inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS), inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry (ICP-OES), and atomic absorption spectrometry (AAS). Relative repeatability standard deviations were generally less than 2%, the report states. In most cases, the relative reproducibility standard deviations were lower than 10%. The report concludes that the analytical techniques were generally equivalent and not significantly different for all metal elements in both acetic acid solutions.
EURL-FCM (2016). “Precision criteria of methods for the quantification of metals migrated from Food Contact Materials: Pre-validation data derived from ILCs on elements representative for plastics and ceramics.”
Beldì, G. et al. (2016). “Precision criteria of methods for the quantification of metals migrated from Food Contact Materials.” JRC EURL-FCM (pdf)