Evaluation of Migration Models That Might Be Used in Support of Regulations for Food-Contact Plastics

Food Addit Contam. 2005 Jan;22(1):73-90. doi: 10.1080/02652030400028035.


Materials and articles intended to come into contact with food must be shown to be safe because they might interact with food during processing, storage and the transportation of foodstuffs. Framework Directive 89/109/EEC and its related specific Directives provide this safety basis for the protection of the consumer against inadmissible chemical contamination from food-contact materials. Recently, the European Commission charged an international group of experts to demonstrate that migration modelling can be regarded as a valid and reliable tool to calculate 'reasonable worst-case' migration rates from the most important food-contact plastics into the European Union official food simulants. The paper summarizes the main steps followed to build up and validate a migration estimation model that can be used, for a series of plastic food-contact materials and migrants, for regulatory purposes. Analytical solutions of the diffusion equation in conjunction with an 'upper limit' equation for the migrant diffusion coefficient, D(P), and the use of 'worst case' partitioning coefficients K(P,F) were used in the migration model. The results obtained were then validated, at a confidence level of 95%, by comparison with the available experimental evidence. The successful accomplishment of the goals of this project is reflected by the fact that in Directive 2002/72/EC, the European Commission included the mathematical modelling as an alternative tool to determine migration rates for compliance purposes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Diffusion
  • European Union
  • Food Contamination / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Food Industry / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Food Packaging / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Humans
  • Legislation, Food*
  • Models, Chemical*
  • Plastics / chemistry*


  • Plastics