Cereal contamination: Improved 'bag-in-box' defense

By Annie-Rose Harrison-Dunn

- Last updated on GMT

Germany is a “hot bed of concern” with regards to cereal box contamination, says packaging company
Germany is a “hot bed of concern” with regards to cereal box contamination, says packaging company

Related tags: Amcor flexibles europe, Benzene, Amcor flexibles

Amcor Flexibles has optimized its ‘bag-in-box’ technology to offer greater protection against contamination of products like cereals from carton board, inks or the environment, it says.

Amcor says the next generation of the multi-layer technology, dubbed Amcor Vodex Generation II, has been refined to improve breathability whilst still maintaining its moisture and barrier against mineral oil hydrocarbon (MOH) contamination.

In a report​ updated in August, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) said that background exposure to MOHs via food is “considered of potential concern”​ in Europe, yet no legislation has been passed on the issue. 

Cardboard contamination 

EFSA said that foodborne mineral oil aromatic hydrocarbons (MOAH) with three or more, non- or simple-alkylated, aromatic rings “may be mutagenic and carcinogenic, and therefore of potential concern”​. EFSA said that the new toxicological information warranted revision of the existing acceptable daily intake for some food grade mineral oil saturated hydrocarbons.

David Bruce, product development manager for cereals and snacks at the company, said that the company had hoped that the EU would have passed some kind of legislation on the topic by now.

He explained that the technology was initially developed in response to industry pressures to combat contamination from the recycled card of the surrounding box.

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The company said that the main changes made in this product were regarding the number of layers within the co-extruded plastic and the thickness of those layers.  

Amy Byrick, vice president of Amcor Flexibles Europe and America's food and beverage division, told BakeryandSnacks.com: “A barrier liner such as Amcor Vodex, directly next to the food, helps protect it from external sources of contaminant which is a significant advantage over the use of virgin carton board alone.” 

“Hot bed of concern”

According to David Humes, business unit manager for extrusion at Amcor Flexibles site in Cumbria, Germany is the second largest market for cereal meaning cereal box contamination there is a “hot bed of concern”​. The company said that products such as its Vodex film had been developed in response to growing pressure over contamination which had filtered down from retailers to manufacturers, who in turn sought a solution from packaging firms.

It is not a case that this is a bigger issue in Germany necessarily but that concern is “less intense”​ in markets like the UK, Humes said.

Amcor Flexibles is head-quartered in Melbourne, Australia but this line is made at the company’s extrusion facility for High Density PolyEthylene (HDPE) products at its Cumbria site in the UK.

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