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EuPIA Statement on Benzophenone

Benzophenone is a low molecular chemical substance, CAS Number 119-61-9, and may be used as a photo-initiator in Ultra Violet radiation cured inks.

As a result of a food quality issue from packaging involving the use of 4-Methyl Benzophenone, the use of Benzophenone itself in food packaging came under question.

Furthermore, this concern has been compounded by incorrect media statements that Benzophenone is a ‘toxic’ chemical.

Benzophenone is approved for use in food and is used as a food flavouring and food preservative.

In addition it has been fully evaluated by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) for use in plastics intended for direct food contact, and accordingly has a Specific Migration Limit of 0.6 mg/kg (this SML was adopted by Annex 1 of the Regulation (EU) No 10/2011 and Annex 6 of the Swiss ordinance 817.023.21). Following the mentioned food quality issue, the EFSA has revisited the toxicology of benzophenone. It derived a Tolerable Daily Intake (TDI) of 0.03 mg/kg b.w. per day for benzophenone1. While the official limit of 0.6 mg/kg remains applicable so far, the new TDI indicates that it would be likely that a theoretical new evaluation by EFSA could result in an even higher permissible migration limit.

There is no factual basis for an unqualified ban on the use of Benzophenone in inks and coatings for food packaging.

EuPIA members consider this photo-initiator may be used in UV cured inks and coatings for food packaging provided that there is a functional barrier present which prevents migration, and/or where the converter has carried out tests which confirm that migration is in line with the limitation above.

Under these circumstances the packaging would meet current food regulation requirements.


EuPIA, September 2009

Revised January 2012

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