EU funded research programs about food contact materials

3rd framework program 4th framework program 5th framework program 6th framework program 7th framework program
past and present project about food contact legislation

Projects performed under the 3th Framework program


Additive stability

Title: stability of plastics additives in food simulants
General information: The stability of selected plastics additives in food simulants will be measured. The results will be used by DG III C-1 to determine whether legislative restrictions in the additives Directive should be applied to the finished material or article (QM) or to migration to simulants (SML). This will then determine whether standard methods of analysis for compliance purposes should measure the quantity of substance in the finished material or article (QM) or in simulants (SML).

Monomer analysis


Title: Development of methods of analysis for monomers
Objective: Plastics used in contact with food e.g. packaging materials, can contain additives and monomer residues. These may under certain circumstances migrate to the food causing contamination. Directive 90/128/EEC puts restrictions on this chemical migration and Directive 85/572/EEC stipulates how plastics must be tested for compliance with 90/128/EEC. A key feature is the use of olive oil as a test simulant for fatty foods. 85/572/EEC states that if a food does not make 'fatty contact' with its intended packaging, then testing the packaging with olive oil simulant (an expensive and time-consuming test) is not required. A reference test method for 'fatty contact' is needed therefore.
The overall objective is to establish a CEN method of test for fatty contact and provide a certified reference material to use for the test.
Achievements: A candidate reference film has been produced and its homogeneity established. Storage stability trials are underway. Thirty nine food types have been tested for migration with this film. From these findings the method of test has been modified, written in CEN format, and passed to CEN TC194/SC1. The candidate film along with 3 selected food types have been sent to 19 participants who have conducted migration tests to establish the performance of the draft CEN method using the film. These results are being assessed now. Preparations for the certification exercise are underway.
General information:
a) Prepare a polyethylene film with a fat-soluble fluorescent additive incorporated homogeneously.
b) Define conditions of contact of this film with 30 to 40 food types and define "fatty contact" as the amount of migration of the fat-soluble additive.
c) Relate the migration levels to foods, with reduction factors in 85/572/EEC and thus place the test on an empirical basis linked firmly with the aims of this directive.
d) Undertake an interlaboratory trial to establish the performance characteristics of the test method and pass to CEN TC194/SC1. e) Certify the reference film.

Reference plastics


Title: Reference plastics with certified olive oil overall migration values
Objective: The implementation of Directive 90/128/EEC, 82/711/EEC and 85/572/EEC, establishes the requirement for all plastics materials and articles intended to come into contact with foods to comply with the overall migration limit. This overall migration limit is a limit on the total or overall migration of all substances which can transfer from the plastic material or article into foodstuffs. The purpose of the limit is to provide broad safety protection for the packaged food, and to prevent excessive adulteration of the food by components from the packaging or article. Due to the relative complexity of the test procedure, the need to safeguard human health, and potential legal implications, references materials are required to ensure that the test results obtained are correct.
The objectives of this project were to manufacture the following three reference plastics:
a film for exposure by total immersion, single sided cell and pouch
a moisture sensitive film for exposure by total immersion
a container for exposure by the filling technique

Achievements: The container was not manufactured due to costs and time constraints of the project.
The moisture sensitive film was found to be stable and homogenous. A certification study was carried out. However it will not be possible to obtain a certified value from the data available. The films intended for exposure by single sided cell, total immersion and pouch technique were manufactured and found to be homogenous and stable for storage at 4 °C. These films are in storage at IRMM in Geel, Belgium at 4 °C. Certification studies have also been completed on these films. It is anticipated that the data will allow the certification of the films intended for exposure by single sided cell and total immersion exposure techniques. In the case of the pouch an indicative value is provided. The final report is currently in the drafting process and will be submitted for evaluation by the Scientific Evaluation Group by 10 October 1997.

General information:
A range of polymeric materials were tested for their overall migration value in olive oil. A low density polyethylene was chosen for the total immersion single sided cell and pouch reference materials. A coextrusion of CPET/APET was chosen for the moisture sensitive film. A polypropylene was chosen for the container. The films were manufactured, and tested for their homogeneity using a rapid overall migration test method employing a solvent (iso-octane or methyl ethyl ketone). The correlation between the overall migration in olive oil with the migration in the solvent was established. The stability of the films with respect to their overall migration value during storage, was established using the rapid migration test. Finally a certification study was carried out, involving up to 16 laboratories to determine the value of the overall migration obtained from the reference plastics in olive oil.

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