Little is known about more than 3 000 chemicals found in food contact materials, study says

A team of scientists from the Food Packaging Forum (FPF), together with colleagues from eight academic institutions, analyzed more than 1 200 scientific studies where chemicals had been measured in food contact materials (FCMs) and identified more than 3 000 potentially harmful chemicals, two-thirds of which were not previously known to be in contact with food.  

The researchers created a searchable database with over 22 000 entries representing all the chemicals found in FCMs (Database on Migrating and Extractable Food Contact Chemicals - FCCmigex). The database includes well-known food contact chemicals (FCCs), such as bisphenols, phthalates, and PFAS, but it also contains many others that have not been adequately studied and for which there is only very little known about their health effects.  

The researchers 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). Importantly, 65% of these detected FCCs were previously not known to be used in the manufacture of food contact materials.    

These findings expand the universe of known FCCs to 14 153 chemicals.