Recycled paper-paperboard for food contact materials: contaminants suspected and migration into foods and food simulant

Food Chem. 2013 Dec 15;141(4):4146-51. doi: 10.1016/j.foodchem.2013.07.014. Epub 2013 Jul 10.


Contaminant residues in food packaging is a new challenge of our time, as it may pose a threat for consumers. Higher levels of contaminants were observed in food packaging made by recycled materials, even if little information is available for some groups of contaminants. The present study proposes a procedure for analyzing three different groups of organic contaminants in recycled paper and paperboard. Seventeen commercial samples were analyzed for the presence of bisphenol A (BPA), bis (2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP), nonylphenol monoethoxylate (NMP) and nonylphenol di-ethoxilate (NDP). Not all the samples contained all the contaminants; BPA was the only substance present in all the samples. The concentrations detected were quite high and, in most of the cases, in agreement with results reported in previous studies. Substance migration tests from spiked/non-spiked samples for two dry foods and Tenax® food simulant were undertaken. BPA migration quotients were always lower than 1%, whereas the migration quotients of DEHP were higher than 2.0%. The highest nonylphenols migration quotients were 6.5% for NMP and 8.2% for NDP. Tenax® simulates well the contaminants migration from paperboard to dry food, in some cases being even more severe than the food.

Keywords: Bisphenol A; Dry food; Food packaging; Food simulant; Migration; Recycled paper.

MeSH terms

  • Benzhydryl Compounds / analysis*
  • Consumer Product Safety
  • Ethylene Glycols / analysis*
  • Food Contamination / analysis*
  • Food Packaging / instrumentation*
  • Food Packaging / standards
  • Paper / standards*
  • Phenols / analysis*
  • Phthalic Acids / analysis*
  • Polymers / analysis
  • Recycling*


  • Benzhydryl Compounds
  • Ethylene Glycols
  • Phenols
  • Phthalic Acids
  • Polymers
  • tenax
  • terics
  • phthalic acid
  • bisphenol A