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Novel technological solutions for food packaging safety

Lack of legislation and innovation in the European food packaging industry affect food safety and competitiveness. An EU initiative studied packaging safety and introduced innovative packaging materials.
Novel technological solutions for food packaging safety
Not much is known about important food packaging materials like adhesives, and this explains why they are not regulated yet by the European Commission. Emerging technologies such as active and intelligent packaging materials that generate new materials to protect food and boost food safety may be regulated, but few such solutions exist in the EU.

With this in mind, the EU-funded SAFEMTECH (Safety in use and emerging technologies in food packaging) project set out to study the safety of adhesives when used in food packaging materials and develop new active antioxidant materials and intelligent packaging.

Project partners discovered the migration of various common adhesive elements used in flexible multilayer production and in some chemical compounds that are present in food contact materials. They then studied ways to delay or avoid such migration, followed by successful application at industrial scale.

Set-off issues and printing ink migration were also examined. The use of suitable lacquer to reduce set-off was also studied and applied using several series of multilayer structures and different printing inks and lacquers.

The team investigated the short- and long-term impacts of gamma irradiation on polymers, and the possible degradation and resulting migration of volatile compounds.

A new antioxidant material based on green tea was developed and patented, and is already commercially available. In addition, the results of a newly developed antimicrobial material are promising. Several intelligent systems were studied at laboratory scale and these findings also hold promise.

SAFEMTECH developed new packaging materials for food contact with improved antioxidant and antimicrobial properties that extend the shelf life of packaged food while maintaining food safety and quality. Adhesives used in laminates for food packaging were also improved and made safer.

Related information


Food packaging, food safety, packaging materials, adhesives, emerging technologies
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