Detailed information on PO for food contact

imageSABIC, one of the biggest polyolefins (polyethylenes and polypropylenes) producer, has now all of its food safety and compliance declarations available on line, three years ahead of the required 2016 deadline. The declarations are available on the European pages of the company.

The new regulations involve more stringent testing on the ways migration from packaging into food is tested. As these new regulations come into force over the next three years, plastics processors and packaging companies will need to seek further assurances on compliance from their materials suppliers.

EU Plastics Regulation (EU) 10/2011 (PIM) came into force on May 1, 2011, and introduces several changes to regulations embodied in Council Directive 82/711/EC, particularly with reference to testing conditions for migration of individual chemicals and in what can be used in the tests to simulate actual foods. There are changes to the duration of some tests, to the temperatures at which some tests are carried out, and to the simulants for aqueous and alcoholic products inside the packaging. However, the new regulation will not become compulsory until January 1, 2016.

For PE and PP, SABIC already has assessed all substances regulated with a Specific Migration Limit (SML) under the new conditions (10 days at 60ºC). Its tests showed that none of its PE or PP materials will be subject to additional restrictions for use in food contact applications.

Food contact legislation in Europe is based on the principle that all substances are forbidden unless they are explicitly allowed. As far as migration from the package to the contents is concerned, there are strict limits on specific migration (SML, relating to individual chemicals) and overall migration (OML, the sum of all specific migrations).

While there is no formal obligation for them to execute migration tests, all manufacturers of plastics raw materials have to provide a Document of Conformity (DoC) to their direct customer, providing confirmation that the material meets the relevant legal requirements. Additionally, they have to disclose the identity of monomers and additives, regulated with an SML and/or QM restriction, as well as the identity of “dual-use” additives, and they have to provide information on restrictions of use if relevant.

For any questions regarding SABIC product safety information, click HERE.

In January 2013, SABIC held a customer e-seminar on the new testing requirements for food packaging under the EU food contact regulation. To view or get a copy of the presentation, click HERE.

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