NIAS are Non Intentionally Added Substances, not constituents or functional additives, but substances originating from polymer and additive degradation or impurities in raw material.

Looking for increasingly high-performance packaging that stand out on the market, designers create new shapes and propose to use innovative materials: this inevitably leads manufacturers to approach the NIAS (Non Intentionally Added Substances), and the many new additives make identification a continuous analytical challenge. 

Mérieux NutriSciences - NIAS screening

According to Regulation (EC) no. 1935/2004 and under normal or foreseeable conditions of use, food contact materials and items should not:

  • endanger human health;
  • imply an unacceptable change in food composition;
  • deteriorate the organoleptic characteristics.

According to such Regulation, it is necessary to monitor packaging material components that could migrate into food, thus compromising its quality and safety. For this reason NIAS screening in packaging becomes very useful.

NIAS were first mentioned in Regulation (EU) no. 10/2011: “As far as they are relevant for the risk assessment, the main impurities of a substance should be considered”.

EFSA underlined that the approach used for IAS could in principle be applied to NIAS, as the same degree of safety should be guaranteed for all migrating substances. The first European Guidelines were drawn up by ILSI Europe.

Thanks to four options, Mérieux NutriSciences approaches NIAS screening with targeted (for specific, predicted substances) and non-targeted analyses (for any potential migrating substance), to be ready to answer to the request to identify all different sort of substances: elements, volatile, semi-volatile and non-volatile substances. Starting from these options, the analytical plan can be customized depending on the matrix.

In addition to the proven gas-chromatographic approach, Mérieux NutriSciences meets the increasing needs on NIAS screening thanks to a 3-step approach for non-volatile compounds using Liquid chromatography coupled to High Resolution Mass Spectrometer: UHPLC ESI-MS/HRMS (Q-Orbitrap).

Firstly, a quantitative targeted analysis -the specific migration of the most typical packaging constituents (almost 70 molecules), and then a semi-quantitative targeted analysis on other 1500 substances (thanks to internal standards and checking with internal library) are performed; finally, a semi-quantitative non-targeted analysis of the molecules that were not identified in the previous steps.

The suggested analytical method guarantees high resolution, increased accuracy and access to a library which is constantly updated.

The approach proposed by Mérieux NutriSciences allows you to obtain food contact material risk assessment by chemical screening and bioassays.

Mérieux NutriSciences - NIAS screening in food contact materials


Endocrine disruptors testing is complementary to NIAS chemical approach to better assess the safety of food contact materials.

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