Photoinitiators: a food safety review
Ultraviolet light printing inks are considered safer than the classical inks; however, despite being on the outer surface of the packaging material, their components can migrate into foodstuffs and can give rise to contamination. Photoinitiators are a part of the formulation of printing inks, being an important class of migrant, for which there have been more than 100 incidents of contamination of packaged food with photoinitiators reported through Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF) alerts in the European Union. In this review the process of photo-polymerisation is explained in depth to provide an insight into the complexity of the process, and the diversity of potential contaminants together with their degradation products. The critical factors affecting the migration process itself are reviewed, together with analytical methods and the current legislation in the European Union and other parts of the world.