The approach was divided into two stages:
A pilot study. <BR>An extensive database of packaged food (type of packaging, type and weight of foodstuff) was developed. A pilot study was undertaken for a method to record packaged food intake of children aged 0-16 years in six groups (birth to 1 year, 1-3 years, 4-6 years, 7-11(primary) years, 11 (secondary) -14 years and 15-16 years). An overlap at age 11 years was included to account for children in the final year of primary school or first year of secondary school. Ten children were recruited for all but 1 group<br> <BR>
The main study. <BR> The tested, pilot-study method and resulting database were used to measure the average daily intake of packaged food of 3 selected age groups (under 1, 1-4 and 4-6). An overlap at age 4 years was included to account for pre-school and primary school children. Data analysis was by individual child to give mean daily intake of packaged food (both total and by type of packaging).
The European Union (EU) approach to assessing exposure to chemical migrants from Food Contact Materials (FCMs) has been to use an intake of 1 kilogram (kg) of food, in contact with a particular material, per 60 kg person per day. It has been proposed that a fat consumption factor should be applied since few if any people eat 1 kg of fat per day. A factor of 5 has been suggested, to give a consumption of 200g of fat per day. An important issue when addressing such matters is the food intake of children. They consume more food than adults per unit of body weight due to their greater energy needs for growth. On supermarket shelves some food products are targeted specifically at children. Much of this food is in small portions and thus the pack to food ratio may be higher than the conventional 1 kg food per 6 square decimetres (dm²) of packaging used in EU controls for plastic materials and articles.
The purpose of this project was to quantify the packaged food intake of children and the use of associated food contact materials. The aim was to determine if, and how, the current EU model of 1 kg of packaged food per 60 kg person per day might be modified to ensure specific protection against chemical migration into food marketed for children. The surface areas of food packs were measured to determine the area:food mass ratios and mean values for the total amount of packaged food consumed.
<p>Find more about this project and other FSA food safety-related projects at the <a href="http://www.food.gov.uk/science/research/" target="_blank">Food Standards Agency Research webpage</a>.