Bio VS Migration out of packaging materials
Keeping organic organic can be difficult if migration occurs from the packaging. Read one company's efforts to provide a safe solution.
November 25, 2015
by Canadian Packaging staff
Bremen, Germany—Organic is on demand. Organic products are attracting increasing interest and their turnover is growing. Annual turnover in Germany (excluding out-of-home consumption)—only a slim €2.1-billion CDN $2.963-billion) at the start of the millennium—had already reached 7.91 billion euros by 2014 (source: Statista). When calculated as per capita turnover this only comes to a modest €100 (CDN $141) per person but it still exceeds the average rate of consumption for all Europeans, which amounts to just €45 (CDN $63.52) per person.
Consumption is higher in Switzerland, Denmark, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein, Austria and Sweden, where people spend between €210 (CDN 296.41) (Switzerland) and €110 (CDN $155.23) (Sweden) per year on organic products.
At present, 70,000 certified organic products are available in German stores. In the first half of 2015, these led to renewed growth in turnover, which increased by 8.4 percent, and quantity, which increased by 8.1 percent.
According to Ökolandbau, the German government’s online organic farming information service, the main winners are milk and milk products (up 24 percent) with shelf-stable products like muesli/cereals, spreads, fats/oils and canned foods, each of which grew by over 10 percent.
But, as the organic agriculture research institute FiBL in Switzerland found, “Studies show again and again that foods contain chemical residues from packaging materials. Organic foods are affected by this as well. The migration out of packaging materials has a much greater effect than pesticide residues on the quality of organic foods. These risks therefore need to be excluded if at all possible.”
Avoiding migration is possible.
For one thing, improved methods mean that interactions between the packaging and the food inside are being noticed more and more often.
Independent test institutes, laboratories, organizations and consumer protection bodies have continually initiated new studies to examine what contamination is associated with packaging materials, to what scope and how it can be avoided, and whether specified guideline values such as the PIM referred to above are actually maintained.
Testing is done with simulants (ethanol, olive oil, acetic acid). The PIM regulation defines which simulants are to be used for testing, depending on how and for what purpose the material from which substances could migrate will be used and/or on the food with which it will come into contact. For instance, the simulants ethanol 10 volume percent, ethanol 20 volume percent and acetic acid 3 weight percent are classified as foods with hydrophilic properties (e.g. fresh or conserved fish, shellfish, meat and meat products etc). The simulants ethanol 50 volume percent and vegetable oil are classified as foods with lipophilic properties (alcoholic beverages with an alcohol content in excess of 20 volume percent, vegetables preserved in alcoholic media, fats, oils and also milk and cloudy juices etc).
For another thing, there are now PVC (Polyvinyl chloride)-free and phthalate-free packaging solutions and BPA-NI (bisphenol-A) coatings offering an alternative that conforms to the law and protects consumers.
This makes it the right choice for manufacturers, and especially for manufacturers of organic products. PVC-free twist-off lids have been available on the market since 2011.
Thanks to Provalin, a thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) that needs no additional plasticizer, they keep within—or well below—all the limits set for migration.
There are now several hundred million closures on the market for all filled contents, food treatments and sealing processes.
Provalin is a TPE compound for use in twist-off, press-twist, composites and aluminum seals. It is free from PVC, phthalate and BPA. Developed by Aceta DS, the compound fulfills all the requirements of the 4th amendment of the plastics regulation EU 10/2011 and has been authorized by USFDA, EU, CONEG and PROP 65.
The granular form does not need to be oven-dried and reduces carbon dioxide emissions during production. Material recycling is possible too.
Furthermore, a PVC-free coating system and a PVC-, BPA- and melamine-free varnish coating system are on offer to give lids the necessary finish.
Provalin is a sealing material for glass jars which has been developed and patented by Actega DS. It is a thermoplastic elastomer which does not require any plasticizers and therefore displays extremely low-migration characteristics. Long-term tests have shown that Provalin is safe and complies with the new EU and USFDA regulations. This sealing compound is used in Pano Blue Seal closures powered by Provalin and Feinkost Dittmann was the first food manufacturer to launch it onto the market. Product information can be found at www.provalin.com.
The Actega group belongs to Altana AG. The Actega Coatings & Sealants Product Division develops and produces coatings and sealants for the packaging and graphic arts industries. These products lend an attractive appearance to materials such as paper, paper board, plastic and metal. They also provide clearly defined chemical and physical properties to the materials’ surface.
The main customer for the products developed, manufactured and sold by Actega is the packaging industry. Actega is a market leader in overprint varnishes and is the technological leader in the rapidly expanding sector of water-based sealants for flexible packaging. In this connection, Actega products not only ensure that the packaging will look appealing, but also that the contents will remain fresh longer.
Actega is already a leading global vendor of sealants for closures and glass containers; Actega is the technological leader when it comes to water-based sealants for cans. These products are used to make seals between the contact surfaces, such as glass on metal (bottle closures) or metal on metal (can lids). They ensure that the contents and other substances such as CO2 remain inside the packaging, and any contaminants remain outside.
For more information, visit www.actega.com/ds.