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Tested printcom Components for Food Packaging

Press release from the issuing company

BSE, dioxin or EHEC: Foodstuff scandals alarm and unnerve consumers. More and more they not only ask "what is in our food?" but also "what is around our food?", talking about the packaging.

Without suitable packaging food cannot be stored, distributed or sold. Regardless of the packaging used, it must not impair the contents and have an adverse effect on color, effect, taste, odor, shelf life, or other characteristics. The substrate is important, whether it be foil, plastic, paper or carton. Printed packaging on the average consists of more than 97 percent substrate, and around 0.5 percent printing ink and up to 1.5 percent coating. What are the risks when packaging components are unsuitable for the contents? Which materials are suitable for which contents? What can cause unrequested contamination? Vital questions for packaging printing.

Undesirable ingredients
Paper and carton are receptive to volatile substances in the ambient air. They absorb fluids as well as vapors from washing agents or conventional inks in the pressroom. Ecological considerations often lead to recycled waste paper being used for packaging but this can contain a high proportion of mineral oil that comes from inks normally used for newspaper printing and which penetrates the reprocessed paper fibers. Foodstuffs with a relatively large surface area such as flour, semolina, rice, breadcrumbs or breakfast cereals are particularly susceptible to mineral oil contamination. Inner bags or similar barriers are essential for preventing substance migration, or in such cases cartons made from fresh wood fibers should be used.

Printing inks, coatings, or adhesives are important components of the packaging process, but they are hazardous when in the immediate vicinity of the packed food and the packaging has no effective functional barriers. Consequently, the industry has developed "low migration printing ink systems and printing aids". These materials are mostly odor- and taste-neutral and ideal for the production of packaging for sensitive goods. Global migration limits, EU directives or national legislation – they all oblige manufacturers to ensure that "no substances in packaging can migrate to the contents in quantities that impair the character or quality of the product, or endanger the health of the consumer."

How can packaging manufacturers be certain that their production complies to those limits and laws? The prerequisite is checking along the entire production chain under hygiene and quality aspects. If consumable materials from printcom are used, the printer is on the safe side. They are all foodstuffs-compliant and of course conform to legal guidelines. Through regular tests of semi-finished and finished packaging, the manufacturer clarifies migration tendencies in each specific case. Should these exceed a limit, the option remains to create a functional barrier between packaging and content so that in any case the consumer can enjoy a pure product.


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