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Packaged food intake by British children aged 0 to 6 years

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Emma Foster, Professor John Mathers, Professor Ashley AdamsonORCiD


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The European Union approach to assessing exposure to chemical migrants from plastic food-contact materials has been to assume an intake of 1 kg of food in contact with a particular material, per 60 kg person per day, which equates to 16.7 g kg-1 body weight. A food packaging surface area-food mass ratio of 6 dm2/1 kg is assumed, equivalent to 0.1 dm2 kg-1 of body weight. Children might be at increased risk to exposure from migrants as they have higher intakes of food per kg body weight compared with adults. In addition, much of the food marketed for/to children is in small portions and therefore the food-contact material area-food mass ratio is relatively high. To determine if, and how, the European Union model might be modified to ensure specific protection against chemical migration into food marketed for children, data on 4-day food intakes of 297 children aged 0-6 years were collected including information on pack size, pack type and food-contact material area-food mass ratio. The 297 children consumed a total of 1646 kg of food and drink (including tap water), of which 978 kg (59%) was packaged with 67% of this packaged in plastics. Mean intakes of food packaged in plastic ranged from 27 g kg-1 body weight (for the infants under 1 year) to 51 g kg-1 body weight (for the 1-4-year-olds). This was higher than the 16.7 g kg-1 body weight derived from the European Union convention. The mean area of packaging in contact with the food consumed daily per kg body weight were 0.65 dm2 kg-1 for the infants under 1 year, 0.81 dm2 kg-1 for the 1-4-year-olds, and 0.66 dm2 kg-1 for the 4-6-year-olds. All 297 children had intakes that exceeded 0.1 dm2 of packaging per kg of body weight assumption.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Foster E, Mathers JC, Adamson AJ

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Food Additives & Contaminants: Part A - Chemistry, Analysis, Control, Exposure & Risk Assessment

Year: 2010

Volume: 27

Issue: 3

Pages: 380-388

Print publication date: 06/01/2010

ISSN (print): 1944-0049

ISSN (electronic): 1944-0057

Publisher: Taylor & Francis Ltd.


DOI: 10.1080/19440040903367161


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Funder referenceFunder name
A03051Food Standards Agency (FSA)