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Food Contact Materials Testing

nias, food contact materials, regulation 10/2011, non-intentionally added substances, testing, analytical services

How do you know if the packaging your food is wrapped in is safe?

Fera is the UK National Reference Laboratory for Materials and Articles in Contact with Food. Food contact materials testing is used worldwide to make sure that food is not contaminated by the products it comes into contact with. At Fera we carry out food packaging testing and contact materials testing to ensure that your products comply with the appropriate regulations for food contact materials. Our work involves research, surveillance and targeted and non targeted analysis of known and unknown migrants. Analysis in complex matrices (foods, food simulants and food contact materials and articles) utilising a range of advanced chromatographic and mass spectrometric techniques including headspace gas chromatography, GC-MS, LC-MS and time of flight (TOF)-MS. Staff are experts in policy and legislation, often being asked to speak at high profile global events in this area as well as in the analysis of these matrices.

Our staff are experts in policy and legislation in this area as well as in the analysis of these matrices. The term 'food contact material' describes any material that may come into contact with a foodstuff. The most obvious example is food packaging but the term also encompasses materials (and articles) used in food processing, transport, preparation and consumption.

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All materials that come into contact with food, from manufacturers' packaging to storage containers should be tested to ensure they are safe for food contact - compliance with The Framework Regulation, European Framework Regulation (EC) No. 1935/2004 Article 3 and Plastics Regulation EU 10/2011 Article 19 ensures that food contact materials and articles do not change the nature, substance or quality of the food and that food contact materials must not transfer their components into the foods in unacceptable quantities (migration). Specific measures exist for some material types and some substances but these do not cover all that may be used in food contact applications.

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Our Services - Targeted & Non-Targeted Analysis

What are IAS? (Intentionally Added Substances)

IAS are known ingredients in food contact materials which can migrate such as monomers, catalysts, solvents, suspension media, additives, etc.

Fera can test to determine the concentration of the IAS in a material or article and its migration into Food simulants and foodstuffs.

Data interpretation and resulting actions with ISO 9001, ISO14001, GLP compliance, ISO/IEC 17025 & ISO/IEC 10743 certification for all UK activities. All our certification can be found here

Food Contaminants




Bisphenol A 0.05 mg/kg LC-Fl
Plasticizers (phthalate esters) 0.02-0.05 mg/kg LC-MS/MS or GS-MS
Plasticizers (ESBO) 5 mg/kg LC-MS/MS
Residual solvents from printing inks(ESBO) 0.01 mg/kg GC-MS
Primary aromatic amines 0.01 mg/kg LC-MS/MS
BADGE (chlorinated deriavatives) & BFDGE 0.01 mg/kg LC-MS/MS
Photoinitiators 0.01-0.05 mg/kg LC-MS/MS or GC-MS
Diisopropylnapthalenes 0.02 mg/kg LC-Fl
Styrene 0.01 mg/kg GC-MS
Vinyl chloride 0.005 mg/kg GC-MS

What are NIAS? (Non-Intentionally Added Substances)

NIAS are known or unknown isomers, impurities, reaction products and breakdown product of these ingredients as well as possible contaminants from the manufacturing process such as recycled materials, irradiated materials or contamination from indirect food contact sources such as printing inks, external coatings, adhesives, secondary packaging.

Fera has extensive experience in the detection, identification and quantifcation of NIAS in a range of material types and their migration into food simulants and foodstuffs.

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If you have questions about due diligence planning and development, legislation, or the regulatory environment; sometimes it requires another experienced person or team to help pull things together and move them ahead. Fera's consultancy service is made up of senior scientists who have broad and deep experience in the food industry that we can bring to bear on your research project which goes beyond analysis and scientific expertise.

Contact Us

To speak with us about this service, or for any other services, please contact the team on +44 (0)300 100 0323 or e-mail us

Talk to an expert

Dr Malcolm Driffield is a recognised expert on the advanced analytical approaches for the determination of IAS and NIAS from food contact materials. At Fera we

  • Use state-of-the-art analytical techniques for targeted (IAS) and non-targeted (NIAS) analysis
  • Carry out profiling experiments to identify differences and similarities between sample sets
  • Work closely with customers to determine the most appropriate method for identifying and quantifying NIAS in specific cases

Explaining the science behind Food Contact Materials: Download our latest presentation by Dr Malcolm Driffield, recently launched at the Fresenius Conference

Telephone: +44 (0)300 100 0323

Email:      Contact Us

NRL for Materials & Articles in Contact with Food

We are the National Reference Laboratory for Materials & Articles in Contact with Food

Special IFE Offer

Come & see us at Stand N2332 and receive a special show offer. The International Food & Drink Event (IFE) Special HorizonScan Offer

Download our latest white paper on NIAS

Our teams often work in other commercial industry partners to bring new ideas and innovation to the forefront and our latest white paper considers the 'Safety Assessment of Food Contact Materials' and describes the issues of chemicals migrating into food from packaging materials, the need to assess the safety of those chemicals that migrate, and the role that high-resolution mass spectrometry has to play in the related analysis.

To download the white paper click here

Visit HorizonScan website - Food supply chain global issues and trends

Emerging Risks & Increasing Issues across the global supply chain at your fingertips - HorizonScan why not sign up for a free trial

Why not join our mailing list?

Want to know more about what is happening at Fera? Why not join our mailing list to find out more click here

Join us at BFR 2017

The 'International Symposium on Flame Retardants' is a series of conferences on safety aspects of flame retardants.

Bringing together international experts from industry, governments and academia latest research will be shared and evaluated, in an effort to propose new measures to reduce risk from the use of flame retardants.

Register your interest here:

Devising a Due Diligence Programme

Due Diligence programmes are critical in protecting your brand and company reputation, providing the evidence that you are taking all reasonable precautions to comply with food safety legislation. Due Diligence Programmes

Contact Us - Food

T: +44 (0)300 100 0323

Contact Us

Join Us at 7th Food Sure (Safety & Quality Summit) 22-24 May 2017

The Food Sure agenda covers the whole spectrum of safety and quality in the food and beverage industry. From cutting edge microbial pathogen studies to practical implementation of process controls and risk assessments. 7th Annual FOOD SURE Safety & Quality Summit