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A review of the existing use of simulants for migration and testing and recommendations for possible modifications and future work
Project Code: A03064
Food and Environment Research Agency, Sand Hutton, York YO41 1LZ
The use of simple liquids to test plastics for chemical migration was conceived and introduced in Europe more than 35 years ago. These food simulants are water (for aqueous foods), 3% acetic acid solution (for acidic foods), 15% ethanol solution (now 10% or higher, for alcoholic beverages) and olive oil (for fatty foods). These official EU food simulants are denoted A, B, C and D respectively. Since simulant D (olive oil) is considered to be more aggressive – i.e. it elicits higher migration – than many fatty foods, reduction factors are allocated to account for this, with the shorthand D, D/2, D/3, D/4 and D/5. Directive 85/572/EEC lists the simulants to be used and the simulant D reduction factors applicable to different foodstuffs. In addition to specifying which food simulant(s) should be used to mimic migration into foods, the migration test conditions have also been defined. Different sets of test conditions were established for different food contact conditions, e.g. frozen, chilled, ambient storage, retorting, etc. Directive 82/711/EEC (amended by 93/8/EEC and 97/48/EC) laid down the basic rules on migration testing including the test conditions.
It was not intended that these simulants along with the associated time and temperature testing conditions would give numerically the same migration levels as the foods they were intended to mimic. Rather, it was considered that they would, on the whole and given the nature of the food simulant coupled with the time and temperature exposure conditions used, overestimate migration into food.
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