A study of migration of the active components of oxygen sensors into food is presented. Six types of sensors, based on different oxygen sensitive dyes (two metalloporphyrins and one ruthenium dye), polymers (polystyrene and polysulfone) and support materials, were exposed to a number of standard 'food simulants' recommended by FDA/EU guidelines and then assayed for migration or sensor components and changes in oxygen calibration. Both metalloporphyrin sensor dyes leached only in olive oil and in 95% ethanol (used as a positive control), at maximum levels of 19.22 mug/dm(2) for PtOEPK and 113.96 mug/dm(2) for PtTFPP. The RuDPP dye showed maximum leaching in 95% ethanol (25.19 mug/dm(2)) while also migrating in an acidic aqueous simulant. Planar supports such as polyester tended to enhance the stability of the sensor. Migration of the styrene monomer from the polystyrene encapsulation medium was concluded to be low enough to be insignificant. Migration of sensor components was shown to correlate with the changes in sensor response to oxygen. Based on these results, sensor combinations were ranked on the basis of their resistance to leaching and their general stability, safety and suitability for use on a large scale in packaged foods and related food applications was proven. (C) 2004 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.