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Survey of plasticizers migrating from the gaskets of lids into oily food in glass jars: The second European enforcement campaign shows poor compliance work

McCombie, Gregor, Harling, Antje, Biedermann, Maurus, Biedermann-Brem, Sandra, Eicher, Angela, Suter, Gaby, Morandini, Maria, Pechstein, Sylvia, Schmäschke, Gabriele, Lauber, Uwe, Grob, Koni
Food control 2015 v.50 pp. 65-71
chemical analysis, compliance, foods, glass, jars, lids, oils, plasticizers, surveys, test meals, Europe
The first joint European enforcement campaign on the migration of plasticizers from the gaskets of lids into oily foods in 2011 revealed exceeded legal limits in 24% of the samples. As a follow-up, a campaign was performed with the focus on systematic compliance work that ensures the abidance by the legal limits for the plasticizers. Chemical analysis was merely considered as a verification of the compliance work. This approach was new and a new procedure was proposed. Authorities of 12 European countries participated with 48 samples. They all used the same letters and explanatory texts. At best for 6 of the 48 products the submitted documents revealed receivable compliance work, whereby chemical analysis showed that for one of these in reality a different lid had been used. For 14 products compliance was supported by data from long term migration into test foods, but the legal limit was nevertheless exceeded for one of these and for 6 others the migrations was only slightly below it, clearly higher than in the tests reported in the supporting documentation. For 23 products compliance was only derived from conventional simulation, mostly at 10 d/40 °C, even though it was well known that such simulation may severely underestimate real migration. In fact, 9 of these products exceeded the legal limits. Most lid producers abdicated from their responsibility by delegating migration testing to the food packer, even though it is unrealistic that a packer performs tests lasting years before he uses the lids (in fact none of them did). Chemical analysis revealed wrongly declared plasticizers for 7 products. Legal limits were exceeded in 10 packed foods, which corresponded to 29% of those with free oil in contact with the gasket. Such disastrous results are seldom encountered by authorities and imperatively call for more effective enforcement.