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A recent study conducted by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA - www.efsa. reports that exposure to mineral oil hydrocarbons (MOH) via packaging and
some foods may pose a human health hazard, and suggests to implement measures
to assess and monitor the risk from these substances.
For the moment, this statement has not led to dedicated
regulation by the European Commission, although the risk
assessment body confirmed that recycled paperboard in
food packaging without barrier liners is likely to be a ma-
jor source of exposure to MOHs.
In order to have a clear picture of the situation, Taghleef
Industries has commissioned a comparative test to the
Fraunhofer Research Institute, comparing the barrier
performance of various packaging films against different
mineral oil substances. Here’s a summary of the work
done and results.
The purpose of the test was to show the different behavior of selected films with
respect to the permeation of selected mineral oil components. The samples were tested
with respect to their potential to act as functional barrier against mineral oil components
under typical conditions for food-packaging contact and compliance tests (40°C).
This summary concentrates on 7 mineral oil substances and four selected films, namely
BOPP (sample A), NATIVIA™ BOPLA (sample C), a multilayer BOPP film with EVOH bar-
rier layer (EXTENDO XFWL, sample D), and an acrylic/PVDC coated BOPP film (sample K).
BOPET film has been used as a reference.
films with barrier
against migration of mineral oils
Sample A
Sample C
Sample K
BOPP standard
Nativia NTSS 25
Extendo XFWL
coated BOPP
The Fraunhofer
Institute for Process
Engineering and
Packaging IVV develops
and optimizes products
and processes in the
area of foods, food
ingredients, functional
materials, and product
safety. The institute
develops concepts for
utilizing biogenic raw
materials for food and
non-food applications,
processes for recycling
plastics and
automatic processing
It has to be said that, at the present state of the art, only the permeation rates of the
samples against the selected substance can be given. The indication of a single value of
a lag time, as presently done by several other researchers, is highly questionable, also
considering that lag times can only refer to single permeating substances, not for mixtu-
res of different substances.
Out of the 15 substances which were tested, the following list represents the most rele-
vant ones and, at the same time, allow for a good quantification of the permeation rates
under stationary conditions.