Materials in contact with food products

Materials in contact with food products

Food contact internal coatings

In recent years, a special attention has been paid to the materials and chemicals used to produce food contact materials (FCMs).

Research is constantly underway to improve the practicality and safety of internal coatings and food contact materials to protect consumers. The Article 3 of the European Regulation 1935/2004 states that “any material or article intended to come into direct or indirect contact with food shall […] not transfer its constituents into food in quantities which might endanger human health”. This regulation applies to all substances that can migrate from FCMs – starting substances used to manufacture FCMs, as well as so-called non-intentionally added substances (NIAS).

Although EU legislation permits the presence of NIAS in FCMs, a risk assessment involving the identification and characterization of molecules migrating from the material, as well as an assessment of exposure levels, is required. This year, the European Commission re-evaluated current EU legislation on FCMs and concluded that there are “[…] potential weaknesses in the current approach to regulating FCMs”. One of the issues outlined has to do with the identification of NIAS. The problem with NIAS is that even though awareness of the topic has increased, and some studies have been done, not many molecules have yet been identified, making it impossible to accurately assess the risk, if any.

LEREM’s expertise

LEREM supports its adherents and metal packaging manufacturers who want to be proactive and ensure the safety of their materials, and offers to conduct NIAS studies (identification, semi-/quantification) using high-resolution mass spectrometry techniques. Thanks to the collaboration with LABERCA, the PhD in analytical chemistry engaged at LEREM has access to the LABERCA analytical platform, consisting of 18 different instruments. Identifying unknown substances in FCMs will allow packaging manufacturers to confirm that their products meet current regulations and help them to comply with the regulatory changes.

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