The polyolefins (polyethylenes (PE) and polypropylenes (PP)) declarations required the firm to retest all its polyolefins packaging materials to make sure they are compliant with the new testing conditions.
The regulations involve more stringent testing on the ways migration from packaging into food is tested, meaning plastic processors and packaging companies will need to ensure their material suppliers are in line.
Compulsory by 2016
EU Plastics Regulation (EU) 10/2011 (PIM) came into force on 1 May 2011 but will not become compulsory until 1 January 2016.
It introduces changes to regulations in Council Directive 82/711/EC, concerning testing conditions for migration of individual chemicals and in what can be used in the tests to simulate actual foods.
There are changes to the duration of some tests, to the temperatures at which some tests are carried out, and to the simulants for aqueous and alcoholic products inside the packaging.
For PE and PP, SABIC assessed all substances regulated with a Specific Migration Limit (SML) under the new conditions (10 days at 60ºC). Tests showed that none of its PE or PP materials will be subject to additional restrictions for use in food contact applications.
“This is a clear demonstration of the company’s commitment to the packaging market, which accounts for close to a third of all its polymer sales in Europe,” said Mark Vester, business director for LL/LDPE at SABIC.
Forbidden unless explicitly allowed
Food contact legislation is based on the principle that all substances are forbidden unless they are explicitly allowed, said SABIC.
In terms of migration from the package to the contents there are strict limits on SML, relating to individual chemicals and overall migration (OML, the sum of all specific migrations).
Manufacturers of plastics raw materials have to provide a Document of Conformity (DoC) to their direct customer, providing confirmation that the material meets the relevant legal requirements.
They also have to disclose the identity of monomers and additives, regulated with an SML and/or QM restriction, and the identity of “dual-use” additives, and provide information on restrictions of use if relevant.