Systematic evidence on migrating and extractable food contact chemicals: Most chemicals detected in food contact materials are not listed for use

Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2022 May 18;1-11. doi: 10.1080/10408398.2022.2067828. Online ahead of print.


Food packaging is important for today's globalized food system, but food contact materials (FCMs) can also be a source of hazardous chemicals migrating into foodstuffs. Assessing the impacts of FCMs on human health requires a comprehensive identification of the chemicals they contain, the food contact chemicals (FCCs). We systematically compiled the "database on migrating and extractable food contact chemicals" (FCCmigex) using information from 1210 studies. We found that to date 2881 FCCs have been detected, in a total of six FCM groups (Plastics, Paper & Board, Metal, Multi-materials, Glass & Ceramic, and Other FCMs). 65% of these detected FCCs were previously not known to be used in FCMs. Conversely, of the more than 12'000 FCCs known to be used, only 1013 are included in the FCCmigex database. Plastic is the most studied FCM with 1975 FCCs detected. Our findings expand the universe of known FCCs to 14,153 chemicals. This knowledge contributes to developing non-hazardous FCMs that lead to safer food and support a circular economy.

Keywords: Chemical migration; database; food contact chemicals; food contact materials; food packaging; systematic evidence map.