Polymer Library

Polymers in Food Packaging and Food Contact Materials - November 2016

This month's topic focus is the use of polymers in food packaging and food contact materials.

The main role of food packaging is to minimise the wastage of food throughout the supply chain; it must protect the food from damage, extend shelf life, and be easy to open, convenient, cheap and, increasingly, sustainable. Changes in consumers' shopping and eating habits are driving demand for resealable pouches and ovenable or microwaveable packaging for on-the-go consumption. Meanwhile, ongoing legislative measures are putting pressure on the industry to improve food safety and reduce environmental impact throughout the supply chain. With the Polymer Library you can keep up to date with emerging technologies and the latest legislative developments in the field of food contact polymers.

Why not review some of the items we've added to the Polymer Library about polymers in food packaging and food contact materials?


These abstracts were highlighted in the November Newsletter and found in the Polymer Library.

Click on the 7-digit accession numbers to find out about ordering a copyright-cleared full text copy of the items shown.

1238421 - Making plastics from food and biomass a reality
Agricultural crops and food wastes are helping restore faith in plastics as an eco-friendly material. Australia's abundance in safflower has led to the country developing a technology for deriving oil from the flower's seeds. CSIRO is involved in a joint project to produce safflower seed oil that contains over 92% oleic acid and has potential use in bioplastics. The combination of different layers of bioplastics - PLA, PVAL and adhesives, and a wax coating obtained from olive leaves - has resulted in a sustainable packaging, suitable for packaging of food in modified atmosphere. AIMPLAS says the new packaging results in a cost 25% lower than conventional packaging and a lower carbon footprint of up to 29%. Ford Motor has teamed up with Jose Cuervo to develop sustainable bioplastics from the distilled beverage maker's agave plant by-product and for use in automotive parts.
Plastics and Rubber Asia, Citation: 31, No.223, Aug. 2016, p.6-9
Buan A

1236775 - Migration and characterization of nano-zinc oxide from polypropylene food containers (Open Access - Free PDF Available)
Zinc oxide has achieved increasing attention in an extensive range of areas, due to its strong antimicrobial effect and generally recognised as safe material listed by FDA. However, the possibility of migration from commercial products is always an issue of mutual concern when its application is food packaging. This study evaluated the migration of nano-zinc oxide from polypropylene food containers to the food-simulating solutions based on the Chinese standard. Several experimental factors influenced zinc oxide release: Food simulant, temperature and storage time. Results revealed a significant nano-zinc oxide migration into oily, acidic and aqueous simulants. The amount of zinc oxide migrated increased with storage time and temperature although, zinc oxide showed a low tendency to migrate into food simulants. The Zn2+ substance was quantified by inductively coupled plasma mass spectroscopy (ICP-MS) and migration was found to occur within a range of 0.15-0.56 micro g L^-1. Meanwhile, Scanning Electron Microscopy/Energy Dispersive Spectrometer (SEM/EDS) and Malvern Zetasizer Nano were applied to identify the existence and the morphology of nano-zinc oxide. 24 Refs.
American Journal of Food Technology, Citation: 11, No.4, 2016, p.159-164, DOI: 10.3923/ajft.2016.159.164
Liu J; Hu J; Liu M; Cao G; Gao J; Luo Y

1240638 - Zeroing in on food safety and sustainability
The growing market for flexible plastics packaging, which is considered to have lower environmental costs than other materials and therefore a sustainability edge over alternative materials, is discussed and recent developments in flexible packaging products are highlighted. These products include bag-in-box containers for wine, Ecolean's Air Asceptic packaging for liquid food, biodegradable films for flexible packaging, recyclable PE-based barrier packaging, Flexfresh Equilibrium Modified Atmospheric Packaging from Uflex and flexible packaging with built-in antimicrobial technology.
Plastics and Rubber Asia, Citation: 31, No.224, Sept. 2016, p.20-23
Buan A

1230721 - Antibacterial biodegradable films for foods (Open Access - Free PDF Available)
Titanium dioxide (TiO2) has antibacterial properties, but It has not been used for antibacterial films. It becomes necessary to study the direction of its antibacterial properties in packing as well as the influence of its packaging on the quality of food. Films based on polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) with various concentration of TiO2 were studied. Elongation, tensile strength, glass transition and melting temperature of the films from polymer materials were defined. Microbiological studies to establish inhibitory action of nanodispersed TiO2 powder on some pathogens were carried out. Antibacterial properties of TiO2 films were studied by agar diffusion test. Addition of TiO2 nanodispersed powder to the film decreases its flexibility by 20-45%, depending on the added amount, however improves its tensile strength. Moreover, adding of TiO2 powder by more than 1% increases the tensile strength of plastic film (46,7 MPa). The melting point (transition temperature to the viscous flow state) (175 deg C) and a glass transition temperature (78 deg C) were the best for the sample of 1% filler. The least deformation was observed for the same sample, indicating that most interacted system is associated with the maximum number of hydrogen bonds. The best approach was to handle TiO2 with a UV radiation, since this way the minimum concentration (2,5 %) of TiO2 suspension was used. While not conducting UV treatment, it was necessary to use 10 - 20% of TiO2 mixture. TiO2 solutions do not suppress the action of fungi and yeast. TiO2 deposited on the film inhibits the growth of bacteria (E. coli IEM-1, B. subtilis BT-2), growth retardation was observed. Introduction of biodegradable packaging with antibacterial properties is necessary and requires designing or revising the existing regulatory documents. Low prices of proposed nanoparticle additives do not significantly affect the cost of packaging, which is extremely important in the difficult economic conditions. 14 Refs.
Ukrainian Food Journal, Citation: 5, No.1, 2016, p.88-95
Chorna A; Shulga O; Arsenieva L; Hrehirchak N; Zusko K; Riabov S; Kobylinskyi S; Goncharenko L

1240337 - Food packaging, problems and solutions
The view of the project manager of Cappelle Pigments, a dedicated pigment producer, on how to comply with regulations on promoting low migration inks in packaging is reported. It is shown that regulations such as the European Regulation EU/10/2011 on plastics and Swiss Ordinance 817.023.21 have a common denominator that a packaging or its components may not endanger human health, bring an unacceptable change in the composition or alter the organoleptic properties of the food. In order to provide the required safety, principles of overall regulation limits and specific migration limits are defined in these regulations, backed by positive lists containing raw materials approved for the manufacture of the various components of the packaging. Cappelle Pigments' research and development aimed at improving its product portfolio of azoic pigments for food and sensitive applications are discussed. The company's Lysopure product range, with very low residual primary aromatic amines, is mentioned. 7 refs.
Polymers Paint Colour Journal, Citation: 206, No.4623, Aug. 2016, p.28-29
Devreux V

1220389 - Assessment of the migration potential of nanosilver from nanoparticle-coated low-density polyethylene food packaging into food simulants
An experimental nanosilver-coated low-density polyethylene (LDPE) food packaging was incubated with food simulants using a conventional oven and tested for migration according to European Commission Regulation No. 10/2011. The commercial LDPE films were coated using a layer-by-layer (LbL) technique and three levels of silver (Ag) precursor concentration (0.5%, 2% and 5% silver nitrate (AgNO"3), respectively) were used to attach antimicrobial Ag. The experimental migration study conditions (time, temperature and food simulant) under conventional oven heating (10days at 60 deg. C, 2h at 70 deg. C, 2h at 60 deg. C or 10days at 70 deg. C) were chosen to simulate the worst-case storage period of over 6months. In addition, migration was quantified under microwave heating. The total Ag migrant levels in the food simulants were quantified by inductively coupled plasma-atomic emission spectroscopy (ICP-AES). Mean migration levels obtained by ICP-AES for oven heating were in the range 0.01-1.75mgl^-1. Migration observed for microwave heating was found to be significantly higher when compared with oven heating for similar temperatures (100 deg. C) and identical exposure times (2min). In each of the packaging materials and food simulants tested, the presence of nanoparticles (NPs) was confirmed by scanning electron microscopy (SEM). On inspection of the migration observed under conventional oven heating, an important finding was the significant reduction in migration resulting from the increased Ag precursor concentration used to attach Ag on the LDPE LbL-coated films. This observation merits further investigation into the LbL coating process used, as it suggests potential for process modifications to reduce migration. In turn, any reduction in NP migration below regulatory limits could greatly support the antimicrobial silver nanoparticle (AgNP)-LDPE LbL-coated films being used as a food packaging material. (44 ref)
Food Additives and Contaminants: Part A, Citation: 33, No.1, 2016, p.167-178
Hannon J C; Kerry J P; Cruz-Romero M; Azlin-Hasim S; Morris M; Cummins E

1237080 - Lifetime prediction of food and beverage packaging wastes
Two different types of commercial polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and polypropylene (PP) samples used for beverage and food packaging were degraded for 25 months in isothermal oxidative condition at relatively low temperature (423 K). The results of this long-term experiment were compared with thermooxidative degradations of the same polymers that were carried out in a thermogravimetric (TG) analyser, at higher temperatures (443 less than or equal to T less than or equal to 623 K), in isothermal heating conditions. The obtained set of experimental TG data was used to determine the apparent activation energy (Ea) of degradation through two isothermal kinetic methods with the aim to verify the validity of lifetime predictions of polymers made by degradation experiments at higher temperatures. The results that were discussed and interpreted suggest caution in the extrapolation at lower temperature of degradation kinetics parameters obtained at high temperatures. 23 Refs.
Journal of Thermal Analysis and Calorimetry, Citation: 125, No.2, Aug. 2016, p.809-816
Blanco I


The Food Packaging and Food Contact Applications Bulletin from the Polymer Library is currently available with a 20% discount for new subscribers. Sign up before 31/01/2017 at £208 for a whole year's subscription.

If you think that access to the Polymer Library might be of use, you can get in touch to find out more.


Food Industry and Packaging Materials - Performance-oriented Guidelines for Users
Quality inspection of packaging materials is a difficult task for food producers because the technical tests for packaging are mainly designed to measure the 'performance' of materials in relation to their chemical formulation, processing data and intended uses. Find out more...

Food Packaging and Food Alterations: The User-oriented Approach
The so-called HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points) acronym is well known in the food industry in relation to the management of microbiological, chemical and physical risks. With relation to HACCP risks, packaging materials should be studied and recognised as one of key factors affecting food safety. Find out more...