Comparison of the migration of melamine from melamine-formaldehyde plastics ('melaware') into various food simulants and foods themselves
TNO Kwaliteit van Leven
A variety of melaware articles were tested for the migration of melamine into the food simulant 3% w/v acetic acid as a benchmark, and into other food simulants, beverages and foods for comparison. The results indicate that the acidity of the food simulant plays a role in promoting migration, but not by as much as might have been anticipated, since 3% acetic acid gave migration values about double those obtained using water under the same time and temperature test conditions. In contrast, migration into the fatty food simulant olive oil was not detectable and at least 20-fold lower than with the aqueous food simulants. This was expected given the solubility properties of melamine and the characteristics of the melaware plastic. Migration levels into hot acidic beverages (apple juice, tomato juice, red-fruit tea and black coffee) were rather similar to the acetic acid simulant when the same time and temperature test conditions are used, e.g. 2 h at 70°C. However, migration levels into foods that were placed hot into melaware articles and then allowed to cool on standing were much lower (6-14 times lower) than if pre-heated food was placed into the articles and then maintained (artificially) at that high temperature in the same way that a controlled time-temperature test using simulants would be conducted. This very strong influence of time and especially temperature was manifest in the effects seen of microwave heating of food or beverage in the melaware articles. Here, despite the short duration of hot contact, migration levels were similar to simulants used for longer periods, e.g. 70°C for 2 h. This is rationalized in terms of the peak temperature achieved on microwave heating, which may exceed 70°C, counterbalancing the shorter time period held hot. There was also evidence that when using melaware utensils in boiling liquids, as for stovetop use of spatulas, the boiling action of circulating food/simulant can have an additional effect in promoting surface erosion, increasing the plastic decomposition and so elevating the melamine release. © 2010 Taylor & Francis.
To reference this document use:
Food Additives and Contaminants - Part A Chemistry, Analysis, Control, Exposure and Risk Assessment, 27 (12), 1755-1764