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Measurement of Packaged Food Intake of Selected Groups of Adults by Kilogram Body Weight to Include Type of Packaging and Foodstuff

Newcastle University
Start date
End date
This research project aims to measure the average daily intake of packaged food (by kilogram bodyweight) of older adults and students.
More information
The conventional EU approach to assessing exposure of migrants from food contact materials and articles is based on the assumption that 1 kg of packaged food is eaten every day, by a person of 60 kg body weight. It is also assumed that this food is all in contact with a material that contains the migrant of interest, and that the 1kg of food is in contact with 6 square decimetres of the material.

Food purchasing patterns have changed dramatically over the past 50 years. In the Agency funded project A03051, the packaged food intake of children was measured. This research, published in August 2006, showed that children, in the age groups studied, can have higher intakes of packaged food, particularly that packaged in plastic, per kg body weight than that assumed by the conventional EU approach.

Further work is now required to measure the average daily intake of packaged food (by kg body weight) of older adults (65+years) and students in England. These two groups were identified as being of particular interest. Both are likely to be cooking from smaller, pre-packaged/cook in the pack portions, with a higher packaging-to-food ratio.

The Agency will use the information obtained to inform future policy decisions on food contact legislation within the European Commission. In particular, to inform debate as to whether the conventional approach used to determine specific migration limits should be reassessed to ensure that at risk and extreme consumers are protected.

Research Approach:
Information about the packaged food intake of 225 adults from each group will be collected using the food diary developed in project A03051. The information collected will include data on factors affecting the migration of substances from the food contact material to the foodstuff, including the fat content of the food, processing or cooking the food in the container and the food contact area:food mass ratio. The existing database of packaged food (type of packaging, type and weight of foodstuff and food contact area) and method of assessing intakes of packaged food will be updated and extended.

Find more about this project and other FSA food safety-related projects at the Food Standards Agency Research webpage.

Funding Source
Food Standards Agency
Project number
Sanitation and Quality Standards
Food Preparation and Handling