Food contact materials backed by EFSA

By Joseph James Whitworth

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Related tags Food contact materials Chemical substance Food European food safety authority

EFSA approves two susbtances as part of food contact materials
EFSA approves two susbtances as part of food contact materials
Two materials intended to come into contact with food have been given the green light by a panel of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).

The EFSA Panel on Food Contact Materials, Enzymes, Flavourings and Processing Aids (CEF) has approved a substance for use as a co-monomer in the production of polyesters and an iron based oxygen absorber.

The first opinion dealt with the safety evaluation of 1,4:3,6-dianhydrosorbitol for use as a co-monomer at 1 to 40 diol mole% in the production of polyesters along with ethylene glycol and 1,4-bis(hydroxymethyl)cyclohexane as the diol components and terephthalic acid.

A diol is a chemical compound containing two hydroxyl groups and a mole is a unit of measurement used to express amounts of a chemical substance.

The second opinion evaluated the use of active substances used in an iron based oxygen absorber under certain conditions.

Final material for co-monomer

In the first evaluation, the final material is intended for single and repeated contact with foodstuffs, short term contact at temperatures up to 100C and/or long term storage at ambient temperatures or below.

The request came from the UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) for safety evaluation of 1,4:3,6-dianhydrosorbitol following a corresponding application on behalf of SK Chemicals, Republic of Korea.

Specific migration in aqueous simulants and olive oil under adequate conditions were below the current specific migration limit of 5mg/kg food, said the opinion.  

Ethanol aggressiveness

Due to the aggressiveness of 50% ethanol, the panel considered that this type of polymer is not suitable for contact with high alcohol content foods.

So, polyesters made using dianhydrosorbitol with 1,4-bis(hydroxymethyl)cyclohexane should not be used in contact with foods containing more than 15% alcohol.

“The low individual migration for low molecular weight oligomers containing both 1,4:3,6-dianhydrosorbitol and 1,4-bis(hydroxymethyl)cyclohexane, estimated to be up to 0.06mg/kg into 10% ethanol, does not raise a safety concern,” ​explained the panel.

“…the substance 1,4:3,6-dianhydrosorbitol does not raise a safety concern for the consumer if it is used as a co-monomer at levels of up to 40 mole% of the diol component in combination with ethylene glycol and/or 1,4-bis(hydroxymethyl)cyclohexane for the production of polyesters.”

Oxygen absorber backing

The panel also backed an iron based oxygen absorber comprising polyethyleneglycol, disodium pyrophosphate, monosodium phosphate and sodium chloride.

The mixture is incorporated in polyethylene (PE) or polypropylene (PP) articles intended to be in contact with foodstuffs for hot fill/pasteurisation and/or long term storage at room temperature.

Direct contact with the material is foreseen with dried and fatty foods but other food types will be separated from the active material by a layer that does not contain the active components.

PE or PP film end use

Final food contact materials are PE or PP films of up to 100μm thickness and PP trays with a thickness from 300 to 1000μm, according to the dossier submitted on behalf of Albis Plastic, Germany.

The materials are intended for use in contact with foods which are oxygen sensitive, such as convenience food (pasta with sauce), meat paste or salads (tuna salad), sliced meat and sausage-based snacks.

The contact conditions include long term storage at room temperature and hot fill/pasteurisation at temperatures at or below 95°C for several minutes.

It was concluded that because of the migration limits and the fact that all the substances constituting the oxygen absorber system have been evaluated and authorised for use as plastic food contact materials, as additives or supplements there was no safety concerns when used under the intended conditions.

Related topics Food Safety & Quality

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