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Food Safety Focus (140th Issue, March 2018) – Food Incident Highlight

Phthalates in Food

Recently, the Centre for Food Safety (CFS) conducted a risk assessment study on phthalates in food. Phthalates are plasticisers widely used in many industrial and consumer plastic products. Low levels of phthalates present in food may be due to their widespread presence as environmental contaminants or migration from food contact materials. The study tested some 300 food samples and found that most food samples (98%) contained low level of phthalate. The risk assessment concluded that the very low levels of phthalates in food samples overall would not cause adverse health effects under usual consumption. The results are in line with similar studies in other places.

Phthalates draw public concerns because of a history of deliberate abuses and their toxicity effects in experimental animals at unusual high doses. The CFS reminds the trade to choose the right food packaging and contact materials in order to minimise the transfer of plasticisers to food.