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A Study on the Equivalence of Olive Oil and the EU Official Substitute Test Media for Migration Testing at High Temperatures

: Alnafouri, A.J.; Franz, R.

Food Additives and Contaminants 16 (1999), No.10, pp.419-431
ISSN: 0265-203X
Journal Article
Fraunhofer IVV ()
fat test; food simulant; high temperature testing; migration; modified polyphenylene oxide; plastics; substitute test; volatile hydrocarbon

As a consequence of an increasing awareness and findings about the technical and analytical difficulties related to the employment of triglycerides as fatty food simulants in migration testing. EU Directive 82/711/EEC on the basic rules of migration has been amended for the second time and adapted with the recent Commission Directive 97/48/EC. The major merit of this important amendment is to authorize alternative tests such as extraction tests and to allow substitute tests for the fat test with concrete indication of corresponding test conditions to be applied. As a novelty in food law compliance testing it authorizes a modified polyphenylene oxide (MPPO), well-known as Tenax, a thermostable and highly adsorptive porous polymer, as a "solid" matrix to substitute fat simulant D at temperatures equal to or higher than 100°C. In the study presented here, comparative migration testing - overall and specific - was carried out between fat simulants olive oil and 14C-labelled HB 307 and the substitute test media iso-octane, 95% ethanol and MPPO using polypropylene materials as examples at test temperatures of 100°C to 120°C and prescribed corresponding substitute test conditions. As a consequence, a number of conclusions were drawn which are relevant for overall and/or specific migration testing under the investigated test conditions. One of the major findings was that MPPO was generally more equivalent to the fat test than the other two substitute test media. The presence of volatile hydrocarbons in the test samples was found to play a crucial role with respect to the equivalence of the iso-octane-based substitute test. At high volatile concentrations in the test sample the iso-octane test underestimated the olive oil benchmark whereas low volatile concentrations led to satisfying equivalence. It is therefore recommended that the procedure is modified and GC-FID screening of the iso-octane extract is carried out. As a logical consequence, the possibility of quantitative determination of the overall ectract by GC-FID is recommendable and should be investigated in more depth. Concerning the overall migration test procedure in olive oil, the vacuum pre-conditioning at 60°C should be given re-consideration to avoid the possibility of loss of volatile migrants whose determination should be within the scope of the overall migration test method itself. Finally, the specific migration related equivalence between olive oil, MPPO and iso-octane needs further investigations to clarify the net effect of strongly increased diffusion rates at the regular high temperature versus the substitute test solvent accelerated extraction effect at 60°C. Stability aspects of migrants at the different test temperatures deserve further consideration.