The implementation of Directive 90/128/EEC, 82/711/EEC and 85/572/EEC, establishes the requirement for all plastics materials and articles intended to come into contact with foods to comply with the overall migration limit. This overall migration limit is a limit on the total or overall migration of all substances which can transfer from the plastic material or article into foodstuffs. The purpose of the limit is to provide broad safety protection for the packaged food, and to prevent excessive adulteration of the food by components from the packaging or article. Due to the relative complexity of the test procedure, the need to safeguard human health, and potential legal implications, references materials are required to ensure that the test results obtained are correct.
The objectives of this project were to manufacture the following three reference plastics:
a film for exposure by total immersion, single sided cell and pouch
a moisture sensitive film for exposure by total immersion
a container for exposure by the filling technique
The container was not manufactured due to costs and time constraints of the project.
The moisture sensitive film was found to be stable and homogenous. A certification study was carried out. However it will not be possible to obtain a certified value from the data available. The films intended for exposure by single sided cell, total immersion and pouch technique were manufactured and found to be homogenous and stable for storage at 4 °C. These films are in storage at IRMM in Geel, Belgium at 4 °C. Certification studies have also been completed on these films. It is anticipated that the data will allow the certification of the films intended for exposure by single sided cell and total immersion exposure techniques. In the case of the pouch an indicative value is provided. The final report is currently in the drafting process and will be submitted for evaluation by the Scientific Evaluation Group by 10 October 1997.
A range of polymeric materials were tested for their overall migration value in olive oil. A low density polyethylene was chosen for the total immersion single sided cell and pouch reference materials. A coextrusion of CPET/APET was chosen for the moisture sensitive film. A polypropylene was chosen for the container. The films were manufactured, and tested for their homogeneity using a rapid overall migration test method employing a solvent (iso-octane or methyl ethyl ketone). The correlation between the overall migration in olive oil with the migration in the solvent was established. The stability of the films with respect to their overall migration value during storage, was established using the rapid migration test. Finally a certification study was carried out, involving up to 16 laboratories to determine the value of the overall migration obtained from the reference plastics in olive oil.