dispatches from Analytica 2014

Waters tackles substance migration of packaging materials

By Joseph James Whitworth

- Last updated on GMT

Dr Jens Jacobsen spoke to us at Analytica
Dr Jens Jacobsen spoke to us at Analytica
Packaging material manufacturers must control and monitor their product to ensure there is no risk from extractable and leachable components, said Waters.

The firm said its customers simulate the action by doing elevated temperature tests to get quick results.  

Migration of chemicals from packaging materials is a major concern for manufacturers and suppliers and for the regulatory bodies responsible for consumer safety and health.

Complex packaging materials

Dr Jens Jacobsen, chemicals analysis specialist, said the complexity of the packaging materials is quite large with film, a covering film, multiple layers of glues and different suppliers, meaning it can be produced in different countries.

“Just a normal orange juice carton is covered with aluminium foil, then there’s a layer of glue, then there’s a layer of film, carton, paper and on top of that there’s printing inks and the glues to put it all together,” ​he told FoodProductionDaily.com at the 2014 Analytica trade show in Munich.

“Basically it is a bit of a roulette what actually then leaks into the foodstuff depending on the different properties of the food. If it’s an acid property you will probably have smaller molecules being substituted by the acid, you will get acid extraction. If it’s butter for instance, it will extract more of the fat solubles.

“So the complexity of this is quite large because even the producers of the packaging material test it afterwards.”

Manufacturers sometimes don’t provide a complete list of all the additives present in polymers used for packaging and original ingredients can degrade or undergo chemical changes during the manufacturing process, said Waters.

Jacobsen said the firm started early in the area.

“It’s not new but nobody in the analytical world has really addressed this as we have. We started early with UPC2 and with extractables and leachables and our Supercritical Fluid Extraction (SFE) systems.

“We heard from customers this was something that was concerning a wide variety of the industry.”     

Printing ink law

Jacobsen said a law in Germany which is in print at the moment will concern printing inks.

The Draft Ordinance on Printing Inks will amend the German Commodities Regulations.

He said carcinogenic compounds such as primary aromatic amines had to be below 10ppb based on a formula sum and each carcinogenic one had to be below 2ppb in the foodstuff.

“That requires good separation technologies, with primary aromatic amines you can do target studies, so you will probably use a tandem quadrupole detector (TQD) or a tandem quadrupole with a high sensitivity (TQ-S).

“If you don’t know what you are looking for you are going into the high resolution modes which is Q-TOFS where you have accurate mass information.”

Waters offers from sample arrival to software to calculate the amounts and figure out the structure.

 Jacobsen explained how leachables and extractable tests work.

“Leachables is where you put the material in a cell and simulate the foodstuff. It is a good case study and then you have the worst case study which is extractable.

“That means as you are taking the material, all of it, and extracting whatever you can…and try and get it into the MS to see what the composition is.”   

The firm will hold a extractables and leachables in packaging materials workshop on 20 May at its office and laboratories in Eschborn, Germany.

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