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Mineral oil migration from paper-based packaging into food, investigated by means of food simulants and model substances

: Fengler, Romy; Gruber, Ludwig


Food additives and contaminants. Pt.A, Chemistry, analysis, control, exposure & risk assessment (2020), Online First
ISSN: 1944-0057
ISSN: 1944-0049
Fraunhofer IVV ()

Mineral oil hydrocarbons (MOH) are known to be mixtures of non-identified substances, which can migrate from, inter alia, recycled food packaging into food products. Such substances may have carcinogenic potential, which leads to a need to avoid their migration into food. In this article, we investigate the possible use of food simulants and model substances to simplify migration approaches. Tenax and Sorb-Star were chosen as simulant media. To stage the action of known components as a replacement for the migration of MOH, 16 single substances, including n-alkanes and aromatic compounds, were used. Kinetic studies were carried out at a maximum of 60°C with contact times of up to 14 days in touching contact with a medium or in gas-phase transfer to it. The results demonstrated that migration was predominantly a function of temperature, time and contact type, but it was also dependant on the molecular weight and polarity of the substances. Due to their low polarity, alkanes showed higher migration to the lipophilic food simulants than did pure aromatics without alkylation. Additionally, alkylated aromatics represent mineral oil aromatic hydrocarbons (MOAH) more realistically. In contrast to Tenax in the gas-phase transition, Tenax in touching contact may lead to overestimated values at higher temperatures. Migration values for Sorb-Star are in similar regions for both contact types. However, the values of the touching contact experiments were slightly higher than those of the gas-phase transfer. The results for Sorb-Star and Tenax with transport solely over the gas phase are also in good agreement. Sorb-Star generally represents an optimal simulant for chunky foods, whereas Tenax seems a good simulant for food types with a high contact surface. Temperatures up to 40°C are appropriate for most types of migration experiments, whereas 60°C should only be used as an option for experiments with Sorb-Star.