Sciensano & Food contact materials

Last updated on 17-4-2023 by Wesley Van Dessel

Sciensano is a centre of excellence with regard to the evaluation of potential risks of known and emerging contaminants (e.g. phthalates, bisphenol A, metals, etc.) in food contact materials (FCM). Our research activities focus mostly on the identification of new threats related to FCM, while the migration or release of known contaminants from FCM present on the Belgian market is regularly evaluated.

Research on the identification and evaluation of potential health threats

The research activities of Sciensano focus mainly on the identification and evaluation of potential health threats related to food contact materials. 
Examples are:

  • Mineral oil migration from cardboard food contact materials: hazard identification and exposure assessment of the Belgian population (MINOIL, 2015-2018, financed by the Federal Public Service Health, Food Chain Safety and Environment, RF 15/ 6296)
  • Hazard characterisation of substances migrating from printed paper and cardboard food contact materials: a prioritisation strategy based on the genotoxic potential (PRIMISTRA, 2015-2018, financed by WIV-ISP)
  • Study of the possible migration risks of food contact materials for children under three (ALTPOLYCARB, 2012-2015, financed by the Federal Public Service Health, Food Chain Safety and Environment, RT 12/10)
  • Evaluation of the migration of toxic chemicals from coatings used for food contact materials in preparation of a future Royal Decree: screening, identification and quantification of the (geno)toxic organic contaminants (VERNITOX, 2014, financed by the Federal Public Service Health, Food Chain Safety and Environment, RF 13/6280)
  • Study of the administrative consequences of the draft revised guideline on Food Contact Material (2014, financed by the European Food Safety Authority)

Chemical analyses for third parties to evaluate the specific migration of substances

Sciensano is ISO 17025 compliant for the evaluation of the specific migration of many different substances (like bisphenol A, primary aromatic amines, phthalates, formaldehyde, photo-initiators, metals, etc.) in both food and food contact materials. We perform these analyses against payment for individuals, companies and government agencies.

Support of the Belgian authorities

Sciensano collaborates with national and European authorities in order to support the implementation of their respective public health policies:

Furthermore, Sciensano belongs to the European network of Reference Laboratories for food contact materials.

Database of substances known and used in FCM

Sciensano developed a comprehensive database with more than 9.000 substances used in food contact materials. Nevertheless, for thousands of these compounds, the toxicity has not yet been evaluated. Our research projects aim to overcome this knowledge gap  and to evaluate the potential health risks of these non-evaluated substances.


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