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Determination of Residual Peroxide in Food Packaging Materials using RQflex® 20 with Reflectoquant® Peroxide Test Strips

May May Lee, Chemistry R&D1

Merck Pte Ltd

Introduction

Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) is a mild antiseptic for cleaning and bleaching. It is approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for packaging and surface sterilization in the food industry. The permissible limit is <0.5 ppm hydrogen peroxide in distilled water packaged under production conditions (assay to be performed immediately after packaging).1

There is a need to determine residual peroxide in a rapid and sensitive manner in the fast production setting as conventional peroxide determination is mainly by titrimetric or spectrophotometric methods.

Experimental Procedure

Sample and Standard Preparation

RQflex® 20 with Reflectoquant® Peroxide Test Kit (0.2 to 20 mg/L)

Results and Discussion

Results determined for a blank water solution, a positive control standard with 0.5 mg/L H2O2 and an example sample are shown in Table 1.

Table 1.Hydrogen peroxide values in pure water, sample, and standard.

If the peroxide-treated containers were fully dried before the water rinsing step, no peroxide would be detectable. This residual peroxide test can be employed to optimize the disinfection spray-dry cycles so that the residual peroxide is below the safe limit before the filling process.

Notes on the measurement:

  1. For rinse solutions, the peroxide concentration measured in the sample solution is used.
  2. If the measurement value exceeds the measuring range (HI is shown on the display), repeat the measurement using fresh, diluted samples until a value less than 20.0 mg/L H2O2 is obtained.
  3. For the peroxide concentration at the full container capacity, the result of the analysis is:
    Measurement value x (rinse volume/container volume)

Conclusion

The RQflex® 20 reflectometer along with the Reflectoquant® peroxide test (0.2-20.0 mg/L) are suitable for the determination of residual peroxide in food packaging and containers. The RQflex® 20 is a rugged and portable hand-held device, ideal for use in production lines. The system is sensitive to peroxide levels from 0.2 mg/L and does not require additional reagents or extensive sample preparation. This is an easy yet rapid quantitative test with a total measurement time of ~20 seconds for each sample compared to conventional titrimetric or spectrophotometric methods.

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References

1.
2023. Food and Drugs, Chapter I, Subchapter B – Food for Human Consumption. [Internet]. CFR Title 21: Available from: https://www.ecfr.gov/current/title-21/chapter-I/subchapter-B/part-178/subpart-B/section-178.1005
2.
2023. Analytical Method: Analytical Quality Assurance, Standard for Hydrogen peroxide. [Internet]. Available from: https://www.sigmaaldrich.com/technical-documents/protocol/analytical-chemistry/photometry-and-reflectometry/analytical-quality-assurance-standard-for-hydrogen-peroxide
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