Materials and articles intended to come into contact with food must comply with several European and national laws and regulations.
BPI provides advice on this legislation and accordingly performs tests on all types of food contact materials (such as packagings, kitchen utensils, machine parts from the food processing industry and …).
The frame regulation (EC) No 1935/2004 states that any material or article intended to come into contact directly or indirectly with food must be sufficiently inert to preclude substances from being transferred to food in quantities large enough
- to endanger human health or
- to bring about an unacceptable change in the composition of the food or
- a deterioration in its organoleptic properties (taste, odour and colour).
In order to demonstrate that the food contact materials are in accordance with the legislation, they have to be subjected to testing.
The Belgian Packaging Institute (BPI) is accredited for performing overall migration tests (their test results inform on the inertness of the material) and carries out Robinson tests (taste tests). Moreover, BPI also has good collaboration relationship with several laboratories to perform additional analyzes.
BPI follows the new developments relating to the European legislation on food contact materials from both plastics and other materials. The institute has experience in law interpretion and is, therefore, able to implement this legislation for all kinds of food contact materials.
BPI supports in the preparation of test programs, related to the application of the food contact materials and helps with the evaluation of a "Declaration of Conformity" or other documents
Depending on the actual use of the food contact material migration tests are performed with various simulants and under different contact conditions.
The European Regulation 10/2011 and its amendments describe simulants as well as test conditions for plastic food contact materials.
- Simulant A: 10% ethanol
- Simulant B: 3% acetic acid
- Simulant C: 20% ethanol
- Simulant D1: 50% ethanol
- Simulant D2: vegetal oil (olive oil)
- Simulant E: MPPO (Tenax®)
- Alternative simulants for simulant D2: 95% ethanol en iso-octane
Simulants and test conditions used for non-plastic food contact materials, such as paper and board, metal, coatings, rubber, silicone and ..., are the same.
According to Regulation 10/2011, the contact temperatures are determined based on a "worst case" approach; they range from 5°C (refrigerator temperature) to 175°C (for temperatures between 150°C and 175°C) or the temperature at the surface of the foodstuff. The contact times were set in a similar way; traditionally they vary from 5 minutes to 10 days.
Overall migration test
The overall migration pictures the inertness of the contact material. All migrating components are simultaneously measured. The maximal limit amounts either to 10 mg per dm² of material or 60 mg per kg food product.
BPI is accredited for performing overall migration tests with all simulants (BELAC Nr. 282-TEST).
To determine the overall migration limit use is made of the European norm EN 1186.
Specific migration tests
Specific migration focuses on individual migrants that are liberated by food contact material and end up in the food item. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) set threshold values for different components (specific migration limits, group restrictions…). In specific migration testing the components that will be examined are recorded on beforehand. Depending on the components different analytical methods are applied.
Specific migration tests are peformed in accordance with the European norm EN 13130.
Determination of the residual content of certain components
The national and international laws and regulations on food contact materials set limits to the residu levels of certain compounds (e.g. vinyl chloride monomer).
Residual contents of these compounds must be checked.
Determination of metal content in packaging materials
The European Directive 94/62/EC and its amendments on packaging and packaging waste state that the sum of concentration levels of lead, cadmium, mercury and hexavalent chromium present in packaging or packaging components shall not exceed 100 ppm by weight.
The concentrations of these metals can be determined in packaging materials as well as in other products.txt
- The Robinson test is considered the most appropriate sensorial analytical method to evaluate the effect of packaging materials on the organoleptic properties of the packed food products.
- During the Robinson test a panel assesses possible differences in taste of milk chocolate that are caused by the packaging material.
- BPI performs Robinson tests in accordance with the “Analytical Methods of the Office International du Cacao et du Chocolat. Transfer of packaging odours to cocoa and chocolate products (according to L. Robinson).” (Analytical Methods page 12 – E/1964). The same method is also described in the European norm EN 1230-2.
- In triangle testing a panel checks wether two foodstuff samples can in a significant way be distinguished from each other on the basis of the taste. The test aims at identifying differences in taste, it does not aim at a ranking in quality.
BPI has the possibility to offer several additional tests, that are in one way or another related to specific requirements of the investigated material (e.g. the analysis of mineral oils).