Packaging Materials

Scientifically addressing the main challenges in the safety and quality of food contact materials

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Task Force Information

Objectives

For more than 30 years, the Task Force has strived to understand the challenges to ensure safe food contact materials for food consumption by:

  • Evaluating food contact materials safety and their interactions with food to ensure consumers’ safety at minimal environmental impact.
  • Addressing recent improvements in food production and distribution, leading to an increased sophistication of food packaging.

Task Force Members

* Scientific Advisors

Contact Information

For more detailed information, please contact Konrad Korzeniowski at kkorzeniowski@ilsieurope.be or Luidi De Rosa at lderosa@ilsieurope.be

Activity Overview

Best practices in identifying and quantifying unknown migrants from food contact materials (FCMs) - Ongoing -

Objectives

An expert group on best practices in identifying and quantifying unknown migrants from food contact materials (FCMs) aims to provide best practices to identify and quantify unknown migrants from FCMs, with widely differing characteristics and applicable to any type of single use FCMs. The objective is to determine whether a set of basic golden rules could align procedures.

- Upcoming -

New activity on Sustainable packaging in an early stage of development

Expert Groups

Best practices in identifying and quantifying unknown migrants from food contact materials (FCMs)

Background and Objectives
The NIAS (Non-Intentionally Added Substances) are present in all Food Contact Materials. However, there is no common methodology on how to perform the sample preparation, analysis, or on how to identify and more importantly quantify the migrants.
This activity aims to provide best practices to identify and quantify unknown migrants from FCMs, with widely differing characteristics and applicable to any type of single use FCM. The objective is to determine whether a set of basic golden rules could align procedures.

Output

This activity will result in a recommendation document that will determine potential best practices to align methods available for untargeted screening and future testing.
The expert group will produce one peer-reviewed publication with the state-of-the-art of analytical techniques for NIAS identification and quantification as well as a practical guidance with “do’s and don’ts“ in NIAS analysis.

Expert Group Members

Publications

All Publications

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Packaging Materials Task Force

SMART PACKAGING

There are numerous approaches and methodologies for assessing the identity and quantities of non-intentionally added substances (NIAS) in food contact materials (FCMs). They can give different results and it can be difficult to make meaningful comparisons. The initial approach was to attempt to prepare a prescriptive methodology but as this proved impossible; this paper develops guidelines that need to be taken into consideration when assessing NIAS. Different approaches to analysing NIAS in FCMs are reviewed and compared. The approaches for preparing the sample for analysis, recommended procedures for screening, identification, and quantification of NIAS as well as the reporting requirements are outlined. Different analytical equipment and procedures are compared. Limitations of today's capabilities are raised along with some research needs.

Link to download the full-text

Keywords Expand

Food contact materials; NIAS; chromatographic methods; food packaging; migration; non-intentionally added substances; plastics

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Process-Related Compounds and Natural Toxins Task Force

FOOD RELATED CONTAMINANTS

Mineral Oil Hydrocarbons may unintentionally contaminate food through different routes across food chains and the lifecycle of food contact materials.

Gaps in the knowledge about mineral oil hydrocarbons (MON) still exist despite the recent advances in the research field.

A workshop to identify those gaps was organized by the European Branch of the International Life Science Institute.

Some of these were identified to be:

  • the lack of validated and standardized analytical methods for relevant food matrices, and
  • gaps in assessing the risk for consumers' health.

The consensus is that the lack of standardized, validated analytical methods able to assure good inter-laboratory reproducibility is the main gap underlining most of the existing difficulties to understand MOH.

In order to conduct adequate substance identification and quantification for input into risk assessment, the need for confirmatory methods that provide a detailed characterization of the unresolved complex mixtures needs to be solved.

The limited number of surveys covering a wide range of foods and enough samples to detect major sources of contamination other than packaging in paperboard also hinders reliable exposure estimation.

Fig. 4. Decision tree to identify auxilary methods. Adapted from Bratinova & Hoekstra, 2019. ALOX: Al2O3.
Decision tree to identify auxilary methods. (Adapted from Bratinova & Hoekstra, 2019)

Industry sectors represented in the workshop

  • Food & Drink
  • Mineral Oil/Waxes
  • Testing Laboratories
  • Analytical Instruments
  • Food Contact Materials
  • Cosmetics
  • Petroleum

Read the full-text article here

Scientific abstract Expand Background
In recent years there have been significant advancements in the understanding of mineral oil hydrocarbons (MOH) in foods and their potential risk to health. However, important gaps in knowledge remain, such as the lack of validated and standardized analytical methods for relevant food matrices and gaps in assessing the risk for consumers' health. Scope & approach
A workshop was organized by the European Branch of the International Life Science Institute to identify knowledge gaps in analytical methods, assessment of exposure, hazard characterisation, and risk assessment of MOH. This work captures the outcome of the workshop and builds upon it by combining the perspectives of the participants with an updated review of the literature to provide a roadmap for future management of the topic. Key findings and conclusions
Most participants to the workshop agreed that the key issue underlying many of the knowledge gaps in the field of MOH risk analysis and management is the lack of standardized, validated analytical methods able to assure good inter-laboratory reproducibility and to enable understanding of MOH occurrence in foods. It has been demonstrated that method EN 16995 used for MOH determination in vegetable oils and fats is not reliable below 10 mg/kg of food. There is also a need for confirmatory methods that provide a detailed characterization of the unresolved complex mixture observed from one-dimensional chromatographic methods. This is required to enable adequate substance identification and quantification for input into risk assessment. A major gap in the exposure estimation is the limited number of surveys covering a wide range of foods and enough samples to detect major sources of contamination other than packaging in paperboard. Data on concentration of MOH fractions in human body needed to determine internal exposure estimates is scarce. Data relating concentration in tissues with personal data, lifestyle, food intake and the use of cosmetics are needed to clarify the complex system of distribution of MOSH in the body and to possibly establish relationship between external and internal exposure. Additional toxicological studies to better characterize the hazards of relevant MOH are required for a better human health risk assessment. Keywords Expand

Mineral oil hydrocarbon, Risk assessment, Exposure assessment, Food contaminant, MOSH, MOAH

Number of participants in the workshop 61 from Academica, Public organisations, and Industry. EN 16995 used for MOH determination in vegetable oils and fats is not reliable below 10 mg/kg of food. Main indetified gaps in the knowledge of Mineral Oil Hydrocarbons 8

To enable human risk assessment, the performance of toxicological studies on the relevant MOH mixtures and possibly their components is required.

This work was conducted in collaboration with the Packaging Materials Task Force.

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Packaging Materials Task Force

SMART PACKAGING

There are numerous approaches and methodologies for assessing the identity and quantities of non-intentionally added substances (NIAS) in food contact materials (FCMs). They can give different results and it can be difficult to make meaningful comparisons. The initial approach was to attempt to prepare a prescriptive methodology but as this proved impossible; this paper develops guidelines that need to be taken into consideration when assessing NIAS. Different approaches to analysing NIAS in FCMs are reviewed and compared. The approaches for preparing the sample for analysis, recommended procedures for screening, identification, and quantification of NIAS as well as the reporting requirements are outlined. Different analytical equipment and procedures are compared. Limitations of today's capabilities are raised along with some research needs.

Link to download the full-text

Keywords Expand

Food contact materials; NIAS; chromatographic methods; food packaging; migration; non-intentionally added substances; plastics

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Multimedia

Completed Expert Groups

Overview of completed activities since 2021