The migration of trimellitic acid and its esters from epoxy anhydride coatings was determined in simulants as well as in canned foods. The most appropriate simulant was a combination of EC simulants B and C: 2% acetic acid/10% ethanol in water. The average migration into food was 900 μg kg−1. This far exceeds the 50 μg kg−1 for which the safety of trimellitic acid and its anhydride is ensured and the Swiss legal limit (QM(T) of 5 mg kg−1 coating). Furthermore, much trimellitic acid migrated as (unidentified) esters, i.e. toxicological testing of free trimellitic acid is inadequate for the material that in reality migrates.