The Austrian company said the authorisation by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) would open up significant new markets for materials from its Vacurema range of rPET systems.
“We hope demand for the rPET product from our system will see a big increase as a result of this approval,” company spokesman Werner Hentscholek told FoodProductionDaily.com. “We believe this is an important development because it offers new opportunities for both existing and new customers.”
The FDA has granted Vacurema rPET category H approval – making it eligible for use in RTE frozen food packaging. Previously rPET made with these systems had FDA approval for categories C to G.
The company stressed that no modification had been carried out to the system to gain the category H endorsement. The ruling meant it had received an extension to the scope of approval to the existing product.
The category H approval allows the production of PET packaging for frozen or refrigerated ready-prepared foods intended to be reheated in the container at the time of use, said an Erema statement. This means that with immediate effect all rPET produced on Vacurema systems can be used for this purpose.
“The product and the system have not been changed and the only reason it did not have this approval before was because of time constraints in providing the necessary documentary evidence to the FDA,” said Hentscholek.
He added that growth in the rPET food market over the past few years had also been an important factor in spurring the company to apply for, and gain, approval extensions. The company’s previously successful applications had be made between November 2000 and December 2003. Its latest submission was made in July 2009.
This extension to the scope of approval was carried by two independent institutes - Fraunhofer and Keller & Heckman – which included demonstrating the system met various standards by use of such methods as challenge tests.
Founded in 1983, Erema has specialised in the development, manufacturing and distribution of plastic recycling systems and technologies for the plastic processing sector.