Scientists of the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) developed an analytical method for the quantification of fluorescent whitening agents which may migrate from plastic cups into beverages. This work supports the implementation of legislation on food packaging materials.
In the production of plastic kitchenware such as beverage cups, for which optical transparency and clarity are the desired properties, fluorescent whitening agents (FWAs) are used to improve the whiteness and brightness characteristics of the materials.
Therefore, Regulation (EU) No 10/2011 established specific migration limits for certain stilbene-based FWAs for plastic materials and articles that may come in contact with food.
To support EU Member States in the implementation of this Regulation, the JRC developed an analytical method to be applied for routine analysis by control laboratories.
The analytical method is based on accelerated solvent extraction followed by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) with fluorescence detection. It has been developed and validated for the simultaneous determination of four EU regulated FWAs and two other FWAs commonly used as additives in paper and board Food Contact Materials.
The method is accurate for the analysis of these chemical compounds at low levels and has been applied to test different types of commercially available beverage cups made from polystyrene (PS), polypropylene (PP) and polyethylene terephthalate (PET).
The availability of such a simple, rapid and sensitive analytical method for the determination of FWAs in food simulants is essential for monitoring and enforcing the related EU Regulation.
Read more in: J.F.A. Lopes et al.: "Development and validation of an HPLC method with fluorescence detection for the determination of fluorescent whitening agents migrating from plastic beverage cups", Food Additives & Contaminants Part A (2018) htpps://doi.org/10.1080/19440049.2018 1459053
- Publication date
- 2 July 2018