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FLEXO Magazine : April 2013
Plants & Processes Treatment and Mitigating Packaging’s Food Safety Risks a Primer on Meeting Global compliance standards for Ink and coating Migration By Kevin Facklam Over the past several years, government regulations and industry standards in all parts of the world have heightened safety standards for food packaging. In general terms, when it comes to chemical migration, these food packaging regulations exist to prevent the adulteration of food from handling or packaging that could bring about a change in the nature, substance or quality of the food to a point that may endanger human health. Migration can origi- nate from inks, adhesives, varnishes, coatings, substrate, or the environment. Migration through printing can occur three different ways: 1. By penetration through the substrate 2. By set-off transfer to the reverse/package contact side of a stack or reel 3. Migration via vapor (gas) phase transfer. Often migration cannot be detected by odor or taste, but instead must rely upon chemical analysis to identify if any migration has occurred. MEASURING MIGRATION Migration is typically measured using gas or liquid chro- matography with mass spectroscopy equipment. These measurements identify and quantify substances that have transferred from the package to the food product. Migration analysis models are typically dependent on the foodstuff, stor- age conditions, and package design. Results are usually stated in parts per billion (ppb) over a defined surface area. The maximum allowable level of migra- tion is based on the toxicological profile of the migrating sub- stance, government regulations for that substance, and brand owner requirements. In every case, the migration profile must first be identified in order to carry out a risk assessment. WHY SAFETY TESTS? • Food packaging regulations exist to prevent the adulteration of food to the point that may endanger human health • Slow solvents have a high potential to be retained in the printed product and could subsequently migrate to the packaged food • Migration can originate from inks, adhesives, varnishes, coatings, substrate, or the environment • Migration through printing can occur three different ways 1. By penetration through the substrate 2. By set-off transfer to the reverse/package contact side of a stack or reel 3. Migration via vapor (gas) phase transfer • To be sure a packaging material acts as a functional barrier, migration tests with the final packaging construction are recommended • Achieving safe packaging requires all stakeholders in the packaging design and production chain to work together several sources can be attributed to migration from printing. POTENTIAl SOURcES OF MIGRATION FROM PRINTING Presses Inks & Coatings Environment Substrate Changeover contamination Mineral oils Climate Paper/Film Press wash Unreacted raw materials Transportation Paper coating Fountain solution Lower molecular weight components Storage Recycled content Copyright © INX International Ink Co. 22 FLEXO aPrIl 2013 www.flexography.org