Food packaging enterprises are responsible for ensuring that any substances migrating into the packaged food are safe for consumer health. Law-makers stipulate that any materials that come into contact with food must be proven to meet the provisions of current food legislation. In Europe food safety for packaging is governed by Regulation (EC) No. 1935/2004.
A total of 17 groups of materials and objects are defined – from cork and glass to plastic and textiles.
The materials used must be labelled “For Food Use” and bear a suitable logo; for instance, a coffee machine, a wine bottle or a soup spoon.
Products must be traceable to ensure faulty goods can be recalled or specific information can be made available to the public.
Special printing inks for food packaging come in numerous colours and versions. Photo: kaboompics.com / pexels.com
Mineral Oils in Cosmetics
Like with packaged foodstuffs the topic of mineral oil residues might also be of interest to cosmetic packaging outfits. However, according to experts, it is not yet sufficiently clear whether these substances can actually be absorbed through the skin. Cosmetic firms likeNIVEAalso point out that mineral oils have for decades been used in skincare products without any negative impact on health. A distinction is made between MOAH (Mineral Oil Aromatic Hydrocarbons) and MOSH (Mineral Oil Saturated Hydrocarbons). From a chemical point of view it is key to note that the latter are saturated hydrocarbons. For their use in cosmetics they are highly purified. This aims to rule out any risk to health. MOAH are aromatic hydrocarbon compounds. They are largely filtered out during the production and processing phase. No risks are posed by any residues remaining, say the company.
FoodSafe® coatings from ACTEGA carry their own logo. Photo: ACTEGA
Safe Packaging Printing
There are numerous factors that can affect migration. The spectrum here includes the properties of the printed material, printing inks and coatings, adhesives, design, logistics, hygiene and much more. Selecting suitable raw materials is therefore of prime importance.
On offer are special printing inks for food packaging that keep mass transfers to a minimum. The range comprises various coatings like dispersion coatings, water-based printing inks for flexographic printing, sheet offset printing inks or solvent-based printing inks for gravure and flexographic printing. Generally these involve a low migration risk. The inks are volatile and generally evaporate during the drying process. And UV-curing inks and coatings are all very stable thanks to the radiation and immediately form a dry colour film.
Under the heading FoodSafe®coatings specialist ACTEGA offers a comprehensive range of foodsafe coatings. Whether matt, gloss, high-gloss or special coatings: at under 60 milligrams per kilo all of these are rated low migration according to the EU threshold limit. Furthermore, the low-odour, water-based FoodSafe coatings also do without constituent components like mineral oils (MOSH, MOAH), heavy metals or phthalates.
Serving as the basis for the threshold calculation is the EU cube model, representing packaging for one kilogramme of food. The cube (10 x 10 x 10 cm) has a volume of one litre. It has a surface area of 60 cm2. It is assumed that the average EU citizen weighs 60 kilogrammes and consumes one kilogramme of the packaged food per day. According to the regulation exactly 60 mg/kg is considered physiologically safe.