Food packaging rules are misleading and potentially dangerous, new research suggests, adding that the industry needs to address this as soon as possible.
Université Paris-Saclay has found that food packaging is not tailored enough to contents and could be causing the spread of chemicals.
Scientists revealed that the contamination of aqueous food by aromatic compounds originating from packaging materials might have been underestimated. Numerous parameters control the migration of chemicals from the packaging to the food.
Université Paris-Saclay researchers have developed a new way to compute the extent to which these substances are able to dissolve in others. It looks at the migration rate of substances – such as endocrine-disrupting chemicals, which are the chemicals that disrupt glands secreting hormones directly around the body.
The new method, developed by Paris-Saclay partners INRA and AgroParisTech, should be used to reevaluate all materials that come into contact with food and the rules should be modified accordingly, the researchers say.
“Contamination of food is concerning and regulations are supposed to be strict about this,” says Olivier Vitrac from INRA. “Previously collected data and this study suggest that the real chemical affinity of substituted aromatic compounds for water could be strongly underestimated by previous oversimplified rules and that tailored methods, such as this one, would be preferable.”
“The industry needs to address today’s loose, outdated food packaging rules as soon as possible.”