The migration properties of an LAE–based antimicrobial food packaging material have been shown to be safe, according to research.
The scientists analysed the migration of Ethyl lauroyl arginate (LAE) and non-intentionally added substances (NIAS) and fresh chicken breast fillets wrapped with the active material.
The migration of LAE and two NIAS were all found to be below levels of current legislation.
LAE has a strong antimicrobial activity against a range of food pathogens, proven by its efficiency in lowering the population of Listeria monocytogenes.
It is used as a food preservative in Europe based on a 2007 European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) opinion but is not authorized as an additive for food contact plastics in Europe.
In the US, LAE is marketed as generally recognized as safe (GRAS) substance from 2005.
“The objective of this study was to investigate migration of compounds from a new active packaging material based on polyethylene terephthalate (PET) containing LAE to both food simulants and chicken breast fillets, as well as to evaluate the bioaccessibility of the migrants detected,” said Aznar et al.
They added that potential formation of new compounds during gastrointestinal digestion was also evaluated.
One of the PET films was used as a control material and the other with an acrylic resin containing 5% LAE as active material.
The analysis was performed by liquid chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry detection with a quadrupole-time-of-flight analyzer, LC–MS (QTOF) for the identification of non-volatile substances.
The study was supported by the European Commission-funded NAFISPACK project, which aimed to develop packaging systems to increase shelf life by antimicrobial active packaging and intelligent packaging.
It also developed a safety assessment methodology including the chemical characterization and toxicological profile of intentionally and non-intentionally added substances present in the new packaging materials that could migrate in the food.
The scientists found migration values for LAE were 0.94 ± 0.14 and 1.62 ± 0.70 μg/g in ethanol 10% v/v (simulant A) and in ethanol 95% v/v (simulant D) and 0.93 ± 0.17 μg/g in chicken.
Other migrants such as dipropylene glycol methyl ether (DPGME) or tributyl-o-acetylcitrate (TBAC), both coming from the coating were also found, but none of them have potential adverse effects.
DPGME was found at 0.02 μg/g and is allowed by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a component of paper and paperboard to be in contact with dry food or as a component of food packaging adhesives.
The other migrant, TBAC, is allowed as an additive in plastic materials intended to be in contact with foodstuff according to European Regulation 10/2011/EU with a restriction of 60 μg/g in migration.
It was found only in simulant D at 0.03 ± 0.000 μg/g, which is a value below the migration limit.
Source: Food and Chemical Toxicology
Online, ahead of print doi: 10.1016/j.fct.2013.02.018
“Migrants determination and bioaccessibility study of ethyl lauroyl arginate (LAE) from a LAE based antimicrobial food packaging material”
Authors: M. Aznar, J. Gómez-Estaca, D. Vélez, V. Devesa, C. Nerín