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Article Title

A review on safety inspection and research of plastic food packaging materials in Taiwan

Authors

Y.-M. Kao

Abstract

Plastics for food packaging are polymers made from monomers and with additives to enhance the technical properties of final products. Some non-reacted monomers and potential mobile additives may be present in plastic products, and may migrate into contact with foods during storage, cooking or serving as potential sources of contamination. For the regulation of these compounds, the residual and migration limits are set by the authority in Taiwan, based on their extent of migration from plastic products and their toxicological properties. This report reviewed the management for 7 kinds of common plastic food packaging materials, including polyethylene, polypropylene, polyethylene terephthalate, polystyrene, Polyvinylchloride (PVC), polycarbonate and plastics with formaldehyde as raw materials for synthesis, and their sanitation inspection from 1983 to 2010. A total of 1,623 food-contact plastic samples have been inspected according to the Sanitation Standard for Food Utensils, Containers and Packages announced by the Taiwan Department of Health. Among them, 99 samples and 52 samples were not in accordance with the regulation of the material test and the migration test, respectively. These samples mostly had printing ink on the food-contact surfaces or have rough and cracking surfaces due to incomplete process of final products. In addition, endocrine disrupters in plastics, such as phthalates, bisphenol A and nonylphenol, were studied. Testing methods of those compounds have been developed, and the migration tests for the related food-contact plastic products were also conducted. The results indicated PVC-made products were worth being noticed in respect of phthalates and nonylphenol, and consumers should avoid using PVC-made products for fatty foods.

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