Migration of food contact substances into dry foods: A review

Food Addit Contam Part A Chem Anal Control Expo Risk Assess. 2021 Jun;38(6):1044-1073. doi: 10.1080/19440049.2021.1905188. Epub 2021 Apr 27.


A comprehensive review of the literature was performed on migration of substances from packaging materials into dry foods, specifically those with surfaces containing no free fats or oils. Historically, migration from food packaging to dry foods has been assumed to be minimal. However, several recent publications have reported concentrations of migrants into dry foods that are substantially higher than anticipated. The goal of this review is to provide a comprehensive summary of recent studies that examined migration to dry foods or dry food simulants, observe and assess common migrants, and report the highest migration values. Focusing on the packaging materials and migrants that exhibit the highest migration values, this review divided the studies into two categories: 1) analysis of food products in commercial packaging taken directly from grocery store shelves, and 2) analysis of food products and food simulants in contact with packaging or other material fortified with known quantities of a migrant. Discussions include the examination of migration testing methods, viability of different food simulants, and variables that affect migration behaviour. These include the physicochemical properties of both the migrant and food (i.e. volatility, molecular size, structure, food composition and particle size) and factors pertaining to the packaging material and the environment (i.e. temperature, humidity, and the presence of a secondary barrier). Information gaps and remaining questions are also identified and discussed.

Keywords: FCS; Review; Tenax; US FDA; chemistry; dry foods; food contact materials; food contact substances; migration; migration testing; mineral oil; packaging; paperboard.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Food Analysis
  • Food Contamination / analysis*
  • Food Packaging / methods*
  • Food Safety
  • Humans
  • Hydrocarbons / chemistry
  • Metals / chemistry
  • Mineral Oil / chemistry
  • Paper
  • Particle Size
  • Photochemical Processes
  • Phthalic Acids / chemistry
  • Plastics / chemistry
  • Volatilization


  • Hydrocarbons
  • Metals
  • Phthalic Acids
  • Plastics
  • phthalic acid
  • Mineral Oil