Migration testing on Food Contact Materials

Our Food Contact Materials migration testing involves overall and specific migration testing on food packaging, kitchen utensils & food processing machinery

Within the area of food contact materials, migration limits have been set for many substances based on the toxicological risk assessment of these substances. These limits are included in Food Contact regulations with the aim to control the exposure to these substances to protect our health.

Migration is the transfer of chemical substances from food contact materials into food. For plastic materials two types of migration limits have been established in Commission Regulation (EU) No. 10/2011.

Overall migration
The Overall Migration limit (OML) applies to the sum of all substances that can migrate from the food contact material to the food (or food simulant). The overall migration limit is a measure for the inertness of the material.

Specific migration
A Specific Migration Limit (SML) applies to an individual substance and is based on toxicological studies. Analytical techniques are used to identify the presence of these substances in food (and food simulants).

For demonstrating compliance with the migration limits food simulants are assigned to perform migration tests. In order to achieve comparable results in the verification of compliance with the migration limits testing should be performed under standardised test conditions including testing time, temperature and test medium (food simulant) representing worst foreseeable conditions of use of the plastic material or article

The (EU) No. 10/2011 d introduces separate rules for testing conditions for OML and SML testing.

The analytical and technical description of migration tests are established in the following EN standards:

• Several parts of the EN1186 standards describe the testing procedure for overall migration testing.
• Several parts of the EN13130 standards describe the general testing procedure for specific migration testing including the analytical measurement of about 26 substances. 

It must be noted that the rules as stipulated in the regulation (EU) No. 10/2011 supersede the rules as mentioned in the EN standards as published in 2002.

Migration testing is often required to demonstrate compliance of a food contact material with the applicable legislation.

For plastic food contact materials the rules for migration testing are clearly stipulated in the Commission Regulation EU 10/2011.   

For many other materials like paper & board, metals, rubbers or migration of printing inks through substrates, the rules for migration testing have been established in national regulations or in industry guidelines.

Intertek can support the industry with setting up a cost-efficient migration testing program for many food contact articles and materials. Intertek bring quality and safety to life with a wide range of analytical techniques e.g. gas chromatography, liquid chromatography, mass spectrometry, elemental analyses and more to analyse for these substance on very low level. When no specific method is available Intertek experts can develop an analytical method.

Contact us to discuss your specific requirements and expectations with our experts, in regard to Food Contact Materials.


Additives and monomers approved for use in food contact plastics in the European Union are now in the Union List, formerly 'Positive List'

Effective January 1, 2011 the list of additives approved for use in food-contact plastics in the European Union (EU) has been converted into a Union List, since the European regulation (EU) 10/2011 was put in place. Only monomers and additives which are included in the Union List may be used in the manufacturing of plastic materials and articles intended to come into direct contact with food. For some additives a Specific Migration Limit (SML) is valid.

Intertek experts have extensive experience in both interpreting the appropriate international and national legislation and providing test data in accordance with these standards. Intertek regulatory experts can also assist with the preparation of food contact petitions and notifications.

Additionally, all plastic materials and articles intended to be placed in contact with foodstuffs shall be accompanied by a written Declaration of Compliance (DoC) at all marketing stages other than the retail stage.

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