Contact Solutions

Henkel has developed an array of migration tests that simulate packaging contact with food

The safety of food packaging can be determined with a wide range of standardised migration tests, which use different setups to simulate contact with foodstuff.

The key questions:
• What kind of foodstuff will be packed?
• What is the ratio of foodstuff to the surface of the food?
• What is the contact material’s surface-to-volume ratio?
• What are the time and temperature conditions?
• Are there any special applications like hot filling, retort conditions, or microwave treatment?
The packaging material is placed in migration cells and covered with an appropriate simulant – such as 50% ethanol for dairy products or Tenax for dry foodstuff – for a specific time at a certain temperature, such as 10 days at 60°C.
Depending on the material and the intended conditions of use, the pouches can be sealed or the material can be immersed completely in the food simulant.
The migration solutions are then analysed. The overall migration limit (OML) is checked by evaporation of the food simulant and gravimetrical determination of the residues. As the residues’ weight reveals nothing about their identity, this value only indicates stability of the food contact material with respect to the foodstuff fill.
Specific migration limits (SML) are checked by techniques that help identify the compounds and their concentration in the migration solution.
Analysts can then use the surface-to-volume ratio to calculate the likely migration of specific constituents into real foodstuffs under real conditions of use.

Key take away
• Henkel’s analytical department has established a wide range of standardised migration tests in order to determine if food packaging is food safe.
• Key topics are the kind of foodstuff, the surface-to-volume ratio, time, and temperature conditions of contact, and special applications. Henkel has developed an array of migration tests that simulate packaging contact with food contact solutions
• For testing purposes, the packaging material is brought into contact with the food simulant and incubated for a certain period of time at a certain temperature.
• After migration, the migration solutions are investigated by suitable analytical methods.
• The overall migration limit (OML) is checked by evaporation of the food simulant and gravimetrical determination of the residues.

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