April 22, 2024

Call for Papers: Methods for detection, quantitation, removal and/or mitigation of chemicals of concern from food matrices and packaging materials

Guest Editor: Greg Curtzwiler, Ph.D.

The Journal of AOAC INTERNATIONAL is issuing a call for authors for a special edition on “Methods for detection, quantitation, removal and/or mitigation of chemicals of concern from food matrices and packaging materials.”

A wide array of anthropogenic high-priority chemicals or chemicals of concern (CoC), such as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), phthalates, bisphenols, dioxins, parabens, etc., once lauded for their versatile applications, particularly in food packaging, is now of growing concern as exposure often leads to health hazards. Such CoC warrant thorough investigation as a precautionary measure to ensure introduction of safe food contact material (FCMs) in packaging supply chain. Hence detection, quantitation, complete removal and/or mitigation of these CoC is of paramount importance.

Concerns that need to be addressed and are the focus of the special issue are:

1. Chemicals of concern (CoC) in food packaging materials, including recycled plastic:

Food contact materials (FCMs) can be a significant source of CoC introduction in food. CoC can leach from packaging into food resulting in exposure/ ingestion, driving chronic diseases even at very low concentrations. The urgency increases with usage of post-consumer recycled (PCR) plastics in FCMs, elevating the risk of non-intentionally added substances (NIAS) migration into food from food packaging and shortage of scientific data. The regulation of CoCs highlights the need for rigorous safety assessments with proper testing protocols of the food packaging. Short- and long-term studies on detection, quantitation, leaching and environmental fate of CoC are required as a marker to ensure safe generation of food packaging materials.

2. Development of a “green” method for complete contaminants (organic and inorganic) removal:

Reusing PCR plastics for packaging is limited by their odor and contamination. Due to improper handling and accumulation of waste, plastics pose a serious risk of environmental contamination, and food packaging safety. Emphasis must be placed on developing a more simplistic, effective, low-cost, low-energy consumption, and environmentally friendly contaminants removal protocol. Ensuring the safety of PCR plastic usage in FCMs, supports environmental conservation initiatives by encouraging waste reduction and cleaner production.

3. Chemical of concern mitigation:

Remediation and mitigation of CoC in the food packaging industry must be prioritized as a protective and sustainable measure for human and environmental health preservation. Existing technologies for CoC mitigation come with limitations and challenges. Keeping in mind the business aspect of the industry, time and financial constraints of mitigation processes must be given consideration during protocol development. The objective is to achieve minimum release of CoC, from new and recycled packaging materials, into the environment by conversion of these hazardous chemicals into more eco-friendly species utilizing minimal time and financial resources.

The call for authors is open until Monday, June 17, 2024. Interested parties should contact the Guest Editor, Greg Curtzwiler.