Plastics used in contact with food e.g. packaging materials, can contain additives and monomer residues. These may under certain circumstances migrate to the food causing contamination. Directive 90/128/EEC puts restrictions on this chemical migration and Directive 85/572/EEC stipulates how plastics must be tested for compliance with 90/128/EEC. A key feature is the use of olive oil as a test simulant for fatty foods. 85/572/EEC states that if a food does not make 'fatty contact' with its intended packaging, then testing the packaging with olive oil simulant (an expensive and time-consuming test) is not required. A reference test method for 'fatty contact' is needed therefore.
The overall objective is to establish a CEN method of test for fatty contact and provide a certified reference material to use for the test.
A candidate reference film has been produced and its homogeneity established. Storage stability trials are underway. Thirty nine food types have been tested for migration with this film. From these findings the method of test has been modified, written in CEN format, and passed to CEN TC194/SC1. The candidate film along with 3 selected food types have been sent to 19 participants who have conducted migration tests to establish the performance of the draft CEN method using the film. These results are being assessed now. Preparations for the certification exercise are underway.
a) Prepare a polyethylene film with a fat-soluble fluorescent additive incorporated homogeneously.
b) Define conditions of contact of this film with 30 to 40 food types and define "fatty contact" as the amount of migration of the fat-soluble additive.
c) Relate the migration levels to foods, with reduction factors in 85/572/EEC and thus place the test on an empirical basis linked firmly with the aims of this directive.
d) Undertake an interlaboratory trial to establish the performance characteristics of the test method and pass to CEN TC194/SC1.
e) Certify the reference film.