EU funded research programs about food contact materials
past and present project about food contact legislation
Projects performed under the 3th Framework program
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).
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
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.
a) Prepare a polyethylene film with a
fat-soluble fluorescent additive incorporated homogeneously.
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.
Title: Reference plastics with certified olive oil overall migration
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
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
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.
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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