Food Contact Materials and Packaging Migration

Identify unwanted chemicals that may migrate to food products

We can help you carry out food packaging migration and contact materials testing to ensure products are safe and comply with the appropriate regulations. All food contact materials, from manufacturers’ packaging to crockery and cutlery, glassware, ceramics, and storage containers should be tested to ensure they do not leach unwanted chemicals or transfer materials into foodstuffs at unsafe levels.

We offer tools and resources to help optimize your analytical testing to protect your brand and consumer health from phthalates, Bisphenol A, Benzophenone, polycyclic hydrocarbons, nitrosamines, trace elements, and more.

Contact us

On this page

Workflows for food contact material and packaging migration analysis

We offer advanced technologies and smarter functionality to enable your team to analyze or investigate a variety of food contact materials and packaging migration concerns arising from processing, transport, storage, packaging, handling, and cooking.

Fast, high-throughput, targeted UHPLC-MS/MS assay for the determination of acrylamide from foodstuffs

This simple, robust two-stage extraction for the quantitation of acrylamide from food matrices removes fats and more lipophilic compounds during the first step of sample extraction. The elution solvent mixture used for the second step ensures a clean extract, excellent recovery and no ion suppression in a range of matrices. The improved sample clean-up eliminates matrix effects and ensures high recovery with run times as short as 4.5 minutes for a wide range of foodstuffs.


Simple and cost-effective determination of acrylamide in food products and coffee using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry

This method offers a viable, GC-MS-based alternative to current methods for analyzing low-level contaminants, such as acrylamide, in food and coffee samples, from sample extraction to detection and quantification.

Average concentration of acrylamide

Average concentration of acrylamide (n=3) using standard addition calibration determined for unspiked and spiked (1000 and2000 μg/kg) potato crisp, and instant and ground coffee samples, showing consistency at low and high levels. Standard deviation calculated from the three replicates is annotated, demonstrating the repeatability of the method.

 Download application note ›

Selective ion monitoring (SIM) GC-MS workflow to improve determination of phthalates in vegetable oil

One of the major challenges for laboratories that test for phthalates in foods is the analysis of fatty matrices such as cooking oils. These complex mixtures of triacyl glycerides present a challenge to the selectivity, sensitivity, and robustness of GC-MS analysis. When using full scan acquisition, it is difficult to selectively detect phthalates, such as DEHP, from the background ions. Using selective ion monitoring mode (SIM) significantly improves selectivity and sensitivity, despite the complexity of analyzing for phthalates in vegetable oil.

Routine determination of phthalates in vegetable oil by single quadrupole GC-MS

Reliable, routine quantitation of phthalates in liquor beverages by single quadrupole GC-MS

Detect trace levels of phthalate plasticizer residues in highly alcoholic beverages. This study is a validation of a complete workflow for the determination of phthalate esters in alcoholic beverages. The method delivers high recovery and sensitivity for reliable routine quantitation. Sample preparation method, using n-hexane as an extraction solvent, provides consistently high recoveries after removal of most methanol, even at trace levels. The Thermo Scientific ISQ Series GC-MS system method set-up using full-scan has good usability, provides the necessary high sensitivity, and delivers the complete spectrum information for identification and confirmation of a wide variety of possible phthalate ester contaminations by comparison with the NIST mass spectral library.

Determination of phthalates in liquor beverages by single quadrupole GC-MS

Rapid qualitative and quantitative analysis of residual solvents in food packaging by static headspace coupled to GC-FID/MS

This method enables compliance with the EN13628-1:2002 standard method using a workflow suited to routine in-house and contract testing laboratories. Our solution provides integrated MHE data processing for easy and automated quantitative data reporting, eliminating the need for the external data manipulation. Full-scan data is used to putatively confirm the identity of detected solvent impurities, increasing the confidence in compound identification.

FID and TIC (full-scan, EI at 70 eV) traces for reference standard and corresponding MHE calibration curves for selected compounds (left to right: methanol, ethanol, acetone, ethyl acetate, toluene, and cyclohexanone) as examples. Calibration curves were obtained by plotting the natural logarithm of peak area responses (total vaporization MHE) versus the corresponding MHE extraction step.

 Download application note ›

Solutions for food contact materials and packaging migration analysis

The analysis and identification of packaging impurities involves the detection of a diverse range of chemicals; from volatiles to high molecular weight non-volatile molecules, and even metals. These compounds must be monitored due to their toxicity to humans and animals. Targeted and non-targeted packaging migration and food contact material testing is used to identity these compounds, using our wide range of intelligent, connected chromatography-mass spectrometry techniques, data analysis options, and automation solutions.

Improve sample preparation and reduce turnaround time while significantly reducing the cost per analysis with solutions designed to offer ease, uptime, and hands-free automation. When analyzing organic volatiles in food contact materials, the addition of headspace autosamplers to GC and GC-MS workflows can increase sample turnaround time and lower costs for high-throughput laboratories.


Semi-volatile organic impurities include a complex range of chemicals that often require high selectivity and sensitivity for identification and quantification. High-resolution, accurate-mass (HRAM) mass spectrometry offers an ideal solution. HRAM mass spectrometry can resolve interferences to provide clean spectra and enable confident identification of unknowns while achieving accurate quantification at the lowest levels.

Get comprehensive, 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, 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 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.

Simplify data processing for food contact materials and packaging migration testing. Strategically collect, organize, store, and report data for both targeted and untargeted high-resolution analyses using Thermo Scientific Compound Discoverer software. Compound Discoverer software allows you to export your data directly to a new or existing mzVault library or targeted list to be used with Thermo Scientific TraceFinder software for screening and quantitation to reduce the burden of method transfer within your organization and seamlessly enable targeted analysis.

Non-volatile food contact material compounds, such as phthalates, are among the most challenging chemicals to identify.  We offer benchtop LC-MS/MS systems that combine UHPLC with quadruple precursor ion selection and high-resolution, accurate-mass (HRAM) detection to enable you to identify and confirm more compounds rapidly and with confidence.

Simplify data processing for food contact materials and packaging migration testing. Strategically collect, organize, store, and report data for both targeted and untargeted high-resolution analyses using Thermo Scientific Compound Discoverer software. Compound Discoverer software allows you to export your data directly to a new or existing mzVault library or targeted list to be used with Thermo Scientific TraceFinder software for screening and quantitation to reduce the burden of method transfer within your organization and seamlessly enable targeted analysis.


Featured non-volatile analysis resources

Brochures

Application note

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

Expand your analytical capabilities and maximize productivity and robustness of your high-throughput lab using the Thermo Scientific iCAP RQ ICP-MS system. This complete trace elemental analysis solution is especially ideal for analyzing nanoparticles in food packaging. The system’s simplicity and ease-of-use work in concert to streamline workflows and achieve right-first-time results, which is essential to all busy food safety and beverage labs. 


Sample extraction with walk-away capability to produce uncompromised results

Traditional Soxhlet extraction or reflux techniques, used routinely for extractables and leachables testing, are labor-intensive and often double the time spent on chromatography experiments. These methods typically require more than 24 hours for extraction and large quantities of solvent (>150 mL/sample).

Time savings
Technique Average Extraction Times*
Soxhlet4 – 48 h
Automated Soxhlet1 – 4 h
Sonication0.5 – 1 h
SFE0.5 – 2 h
Microwave0.5 – 1 h
Dionex ASE 150/3500.2 – 0.3 h
Solvent savings
Technique Solvent Usage*
Soxhlet150 – 500 mL
Automated Soxhlet50 – 100 mL
Sonication150 – 200 mL
SFE5 – 50 mL
Microwave25 – 50 mL
Dionex ASE 150/3505 – 200 mL
*Calculated on a per sample basis

Featured sample extraction resources

Video

  • —Learn about the accelerated solvent extraction technique, one of the fastest, safest and easiest techniques available for extracting analytes out of solid and semi-solid samples.
Featured instrument videos

Related learning centers


CMD SchemaApp code