DEHA-plasticized PVC for retail packaging of fresh meat

Jens Højslev Petersen, Ebbe Tubæk Naamansen

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


A selection of frequently consumed meat products were packed in two commercial types of plasticized PVC film with declared plasticizer compositions of 11 and 21% di-(ethylhexyl)adipate (DEHA), respectively. The meat products were analysed for DEHA after packaging and storage until their "use by" date. Pretreatment of the meat, including cutting, chopping, cooking and packaging, was performed according to normal practice in a Danish supermarket. All samples contained DEHA, in general the investigation showed that a high fat content in or at the surface of the meat and/or a high storage temperature and/or repeated repackaging with new film during treatment gave rise to the greatest amount of DEHA migration from the film into the meat. No significant differences in DEHA migration could be seen when comparing the two films, although they were quite different in terms of plasticizer composition. The DEHA concentration at the "use by" date in fresh lean trimmings and slices of pork leg was 1-2 mg/kg, whereas neck and strip loin with some fat at the surface contained about 5-10 mg/kg. More fatty types of meat such as minced beef and pork with 18-20% fat, packaged once in plasticized PVC, contained around 20 mg DEHA/ kg. When previously packaged loin was cut into steaks or chops, repackaged, minced and repackaged again, the DEHA concentration doubled to around 40 mg/kg, Finally if meatballs were then produced from the said mince, repackaged and stored at 65 degrees C for 24 h, the DEHA concentration reached 100 mg/kg. Based on the evaluations of DEHA given by the EU Scientific Committee for Food, the National Food Agency considers concentrations of DEHA in foods higher than 18 mg/kg to be unacceptable.
Original languageEnglish
JournalZeitschrift fur Lebensmittel-Untersuchung und -Forschung. A, European food research and technology (Print)
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)156-160
Publication statusPublished - 1998


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