Food Contact Materials and Packaging Migration

Identify all suspects in food packaging

A Food Contact Material (FCM) is any material approved for food use that comes in contact with food or drink products during manufacturing, packaging, preparation, and storage. They can be made from a variety of materials including plastics, rubber, paper, and metal. The safety of a FCM must be evaluated, as chemicals can migrate from the materials into the food. Food packaging and drinks packaging must be manufactured in compliance with regulations, including good manufacturing practices, so that any potential transfer to foods does not raise food safety concerns, change the composition of the food or have adverse effects on the taste or odor of the product.

Popular food contact materials products

The analysis and identification of packaging impurities involve a diverse range of chemicals; from volatiles to high molecular weight non-volatile molecules and even metals. It is essential that they are monitored as they can be toxic to both humans and animals. Targeted and non-targeted packaging migration and food contact material testing is used to identity such compounds, using a wide range of chromatography-mass spectrometry techniques.

Food contact materials analysis


Sample extraction

Traditional Soxhlet or reflux techniques, used routinely for extractables and leachables testing, are labor intensive often accounting for more than twice the time spent on actual chromatography. They typically require over 24 hours for extraction and consume large quantities of solvent (>150 mL/sample).

Thermo Fisher Scientific offer automated sample preparation solutions to simplify the process for such demanding extractions, allowing for a reduction in time and repetitive functions, while still providing highly reproducible results.

Featured sample extraction resources


Volatile analysis

Improved sample handling includes the use of autosamplers that can reduce turnaround times and significantly reduce the cost per analysis. Using automated systems, particularly headspace autosamplers, when analyzing for organic volatiles in food contact materials can increase sample turnaround time and in turn lower costs for high throughput laboratories.

Featured volatile analysis resources

  •  Brochure: TriPlus 300 Headspace Autosampler—A reliable solution for organic volatiles applications. In many modern laboratories, sample preparation often accounts for more than twice the time spent on the actual analysis.
  •  Specification sheet: TRACE 1310 Gas Chromatograph—Boost productivity, accelerate response times and lower cost of ownership with the Thermo Scientific™ TRACE 1310 Gas Chromatograph. The system is ideal for QA/QC, production and research and features instant-connect injectors and detectors.
  •  Brochure: ISQ 7000 Single Quadrupole GC-MS System – Now You're Unstoppable—The ISQ single quadrupole GC-MS system features time-proven technology offering an affordable and robust solution. This GC-MS system offers operational simplicity, proven dependability, and unstoppable productivity.

Semi-volatile analysis

Semi-volatile organic impurities are a complex range of chemicals that often require high selectivity and sensitivity analysis for identification and quantification. High-resolution, accurate-mass (HRAM) mass spectrometry is a perfect solution. Interferences are resolved for the cleanest of spectra and enable confident identification of unknowns while still achieving accurate quantification at the lowest levels.

Get comprehensive with high confidence discovery, identification, and quantitation of food contact materials and packaging migration samples from a single analysis. The Thermo Scientific™ GC Orbitrap™ GC-MS/MS offers the quantitative power of a GC triple quadrupole MS combined with the high precision, full scan high resolution accurate mass (HRAM) capabilities. This system is ideal for the analysis of non-intentionally added substances (NIAS), phthalates in food, and bisphenol A (BPA) in canned food and beverages.

Get comprehensive with high confidence discovery, identification, and quantitation of food contact materials and packaging migration samples from a single analysis. The Thermo Scientific™ GC Orbitrap™ GC-MS/MS offers the quantitative power of a GC triple quadrupole MS combined with the high precision, full scan high resolution accurate mass (HRAM) capabilities. This system is ideal for the analysis of non-intentionally added substances (NIAS), phthalates in food, and bisphenol A (BPA) in canned food and beverages.

Featured semi-volatile analysis resources

  •  Brochure: TriPlus RSH Autosampler Integrated Sampling System—Utilizing robotic sample handling to expand automated capabilities beyond liquid, headspace and solid-phase microextraction (SPME), offering exceptional precision, unmatched flexibility and ultimate productivity.
  •  Brochure: Unprecedented Depth in GC-MS Analysis—For years, scientists have demanded a high-resolution, accurate-mass (HR/AM) system in food contact material analysis. These scientists understand the power that only Thermo Scientific Orbitrap™ technology can bring to the detailed characterization of their most challenging samples.
  •  White paper: The Power of High Resolution Accurate Mass using Orbitrap-based GC-MS—The high resolving power of the system facilitates outstanding mass accuracy, and this combination can be used in a number of food contact materials areas where high confidence in compound discovery, screening, identification, and quantification is required.

Non-volatile analysis

Non-volatile food contact material compounds, for example phthalates, are amongst the hardest to identify. Identify and confirm more compounds rapidly and with confidence by using a benchtop LC-MS/MS system. By combining UHPLC with quadruple precursor ion selection and high-resolution, accurate-mass (HRAM) detection it is possible to deliver exceptional results.

Featured non-volatile analysis resources


Elemental impurities

Elemental impurities are common in printed materials, pigments, foil packaging and also delivery systems. Meet the most challenging regulatory requirements for trace metals analysis in packaging migration and food contact materials.

Featured elemental impurities resources


Featured instrument videos

View these videos to learn more about our food and beverage analytical solutions using the most comprehensive line of instruments, equipment, consumables, chemicals, reagents and software available, or click here to visit the food and beverage video library.