Determination of volatile chemicals released from microwave-heat-susceptor food packaging.
J AOAC Int. 1993 Nov-Dec;76(6):1268-75. PMID: 8286967
U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Division of Food and Chemical Technology, Washington, DC 20204.
Microwave heat susceptors that convert electromagnetic energy to heat attain high temperatures that make it possible to cook some foods to golden crispness in a microwave oven. Susceptors are typically packaged with foods intended for microwave use, e.g., waffles, pizzas, and french fries. The high temperatures>302 degrees F used to cook some foods release trace levels of volatile chemicals from metalized polyester film, adhesive, and paper packaging materials; these volatile chemicals may be absorbed by the food. We simulated microwave susceptor cooking conditions and developed protocols by using headspace concentration capillary gas chromatography and mass spectrometry to identify volatile chemicals released from heated susceptors. We purchased a limited, cross-sectional sample of local retail microwave food products packaged with susceptors and used our protocol to analyze 10 different susceptor products. Although more than 140 unique chromatographic peaks were tabulated, only 44 volatile chemicals were identified, including 1,1,1-trichloroethane, benzene, and 2-(2-butoxyethoxy)ethanol, which were derived primarily from the paper and adhesive susceptor components. No one susceptor contained all the identified substances. The standard additions technique was the preferred method for quantitation. Trichloroethane and 2-(2-butoxyethoxy)ethanol were present in several products at 75-122 micrograms/in.2 of susceptor surface area. Benzene was found in 3 susceptors at