On February 24, 2018, the EU Reference Laboratory for Food Contact Materials (EURL-FCM) of the European Commission’s (EC) Joint Research Centre (JRC) published a technical report on temperature control during migration testing and quantification of migration. The report summarizes the results of a proficiency test organized by the EURL-FCM to assess the capabilities of EU National Reference Laboratories (NRLs) and Official Control Laboratories (OCLs) regarding the two tasks. 41 laboratories (25 NRLs and 16 OCLs) from 26 different countries participated in the temperature control exercise; 32 laboratories (24 NRLs and 8 OCLs) provided results for migration quantification.

To demonstrate temperature control, participating laboratories were asked to perform a specific migration test by article filling with 50% ethanol for two hours at 70 °C ± 2 °C inside a thermostatic oven or incubator and monitor temperature. 59% of the 41 laboratories succeeded in maintaining the temperature of the food simulant within the 2 °C tolerance range for the whole contact time. 85% of the laboratories managed to keep the mean temperature of the entire experiment in the range of 68-72 °C. The EURL-FCM noted that this was a significant improvement compared to an interlaboratory comparison conducted in 2015 where only 30% of participating laboratories successfully maintained the temperature of the food simulant within the tolerance range during the entire contact time (FPF reported).

Regarding quantification of migration, participating laboratories were requested to measure the specific migration of 2,5-bis(5-tert-butyl-2-benzoxazolyl)thiophene (CAS 7128-64-5) by developing and applying an appropriate analytical method. 80% of the laboratories delivered satisfactory results. Half of the laboratories also reported reasonable estimates of their measurement uncertainties. On this topic, the EURL-FCM will organize a dedicated training to share best practices.

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Tsochatzis E., at al. (2018). “EURL-FCM-02-2016 proficiency test report: Temperature control during migration and quantification of migrated FCM No 500 by article filling.JRC Validated Methods, Reference Methods and Measurements Report EUR 29121 EN.