Food Containers and Packaging Materials as Possible Source of Hazardous Chemicals to Food

  • Evangelia Manoli
  • Dimitra VoutsaEmail author
Part of the The Handbook of Environmental Chemistry book series (HEC, volume 78)


Plastics are widely used around the world as packaging material covering a wide range of applications. Plastics could be a source of chemicals into food through migration of various compounds (polymers, monomers, and processing aids) from packaging to foodstuffs. The intentionally added substances (IAS) are listed and controlled by laws and regulations from various organisations. For these authorised substances, specific migration limits (SML) have been established on the basis of migration tests performed on the plastic material using different food simulants according to the food type. These tests are based on the risk assessment of the single substance able to migrate, simulating the worst case of the foreseeable conditions, in order to ensure the safety of the final material. However, over 50 % of compounds migrating from food contact materials are non-intentionally added substances (NIAS). The European Regulation No. 10/2011 concerning plastics and multilayers recently became more strict, stating that ‘the risk assessment of a substance should cover the substance itself, relevant impurities and foreseeable reaction and degradation products in the intended use’. This chapter presents the materials used in food containers and food packaging, the additives employed in different types of plastics in order to improve their properties, current legislation with emphasis on European Regulation No. 10/2011, and the migration tests and specific migration limits. In addition, there is discussion on the compounds usually found in various food categories and bottled water due to the presence of IAS or NIAS in packaging materials.


Bottled water Food containers Food packaging materials Migration Plastics 


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of ChemistryAristotle University of ThessalonikiThessalonikiGreece

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