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Food Addit Contam Part A Chem Anal Control Expo Risk Assess. 2013;30(4):750-9. doi: 10.1080/19440049.2012.762694. Epub 2013 Feb 19.

Non-visible print set-off of photoinitiators in food packaging: detection by ambient ionisation mass spectrometry.

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Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, US Food and Drug Administration-USFDA, College Park, MD, USA.


Direct analysis in real time coupled to time-of-flight mass spectrometry (DART/TOF-MS) was used to detect the non-visible set-off of photoinitiators on the food contact surface of three different packages. The samples were intentionally under-cured to provoke set-off. Twelve commercially available photoinitiators were included in the ink formulations including α-amino-, morpholino, and α-hydroxy benzophenones, thioxanthones, aryl-phosphine oxide and three polymeric versions of these. Major colours of the packages' prints were analysed, as well as the specific areas of the inner surface in contact with them. Larger quantities of photoinitiators were detected on the food contact areas in contact with the darker colours of the images. Speed-cure 7005 and 4-phenylbenzophenone were the compounds most susceptible to set-off in each of the samples by DART response. An identification protocol for unknown set-off compounds was tested, resulting in the set-off detection of diethylene glycol ethers, erucamide and acrylates, and confirmed by solvent extraction GC-MS analysis. Finally, DART/TOF-MS was scanned across transects of the food contact side of packages to map the presence of photoinitiators. Higher photoinitiator signals were observed in patterns corresponding to the printed image, suggesting DART/TOF-MS might "image" print set-off.

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