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Benzophenone: Is our food safe?

Benzophenone: Is our food safe?

Chemicals used in food packaging, like benzophenone (BZP) can leach from packaging into food. Almost all food packaging use ink printing and a variety of xenobiotics may migrate into foods. With increased reliance on packaged foods, this problem has attracted a lot of public and regulatory attention and awareness in recent years.

BZP is most commonly used as a photo-screen agent in the formulation of ink used on food packaging labels, and as a photoinitiator in the production of the polyethylene coating film. It has been shown that BZP can permeate through packaging to food [1-4]. Several studies have also confirmed the potential toxic effects of BZP, resulting in carcinogenesis [5], sensitisation [6], and endocrine disruption [7,8].

Whereas regulations exist regarding xenobiotics migrating from plastic used in packaging to food, the use of BZP and other photoinitiators used in ultraviolet (UV)-cured inks is not regulated with regards to potential food contamination activity.

Considering the wide use and potential contamination of food by BZP, many studies have investigated the BZP levels found in packaging and in food.

Until now, almost all analytical methods for detection of BZP have been chromatography-based, gas chromatography in particular. As a fast and high throughput detection method, enzyme immunoassay provides a convenient tool for detection of benzophenone in food. BioAspect sells BZP antibody, antigen, and ELISA kits to help researchers tackle this problem.


1. Johns at al., 2000
2. Sagratini et al., 2008
3. Sanches-Silva et al., 2008
4. Triantafyllou et al., 2002
5. Rhodes et al., 2007
6. Cook & Freeman, 2002
7. Hsieh et al., 2007
8. Muncke et al, 2009