Trace metals testing and migration study expertise to support your food contact packaging or food contact development and compliance

The migration of metal-containing substances from food contact materials may present a health risk if not controlled or properly understood. Testing and analysis that is compliant with the relevant regional or national food contact guidelines are necessary to ensure safety.
Generally, materials such as plastics used for food packaging contain low concentrations of metallic compounds however, there are several possible sources of exposure to metallic containing substances including compounding, printing, food processing, filling, and recycling. Metal ions or metal containing substances may be present as non-intentionally added substances (NIAS) and so analytical programs which identify inorganic NIAS are crucial to the safety of the food contact article or material.

There are several relevant guidance documents that must be considered, for example, in Europe, Resolution CM/Res (2013), the Technical Guide on Metals and Alloys used in Food Contact Materials is widely recognised and used as a reference for the safety and quality of food packaging made from metals and alloys and specific release limits (SRLs) have been set for each element. In the latest amendment of Regulation EU 10/2011, (Regulation (EU) 2020/1245), migration limits for additional metal-containing substances migrating from plastic materials and articles were introduced. Plastic materials and articles shall not release in quantities exceeding specific migration limits for the following substances: Aluminium, Antimony, Arsenic, Barium, Cadmium, Calcium, Chromium, Cobalt, Copper, Europium, Gadolinium, Iron, Lanthanum, Lead, Lithium, Magnesium, Manganese, Mercury, Nickel, Potassium, Sodium, Terbium and Zinc.

Testing to Mitigate Risks Associated with Migration of Metals into Food
Reliable quantification of metal elements in food contact materials is critical to ensuring the safety of these products. Our experts provide efficient laboratory analysis using robust, industry established migration testing, with sensitive inductively coupled plasma (ICP) detection and quantification approaches covering the elements above and for heavy metals and lanthanides. We conduct NIAS programs for both organic and inorganic substances and so can incorporate screening analysis for a range of metal elements as part of these studies. We are highly experienced in suitable sample preparation methods involving acid microwave digestion techniques. We use ICP technologies with either optical emission spectroscopy (ICP-OES), or mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) detection which are key to delivering, robust results that can help manufacturers to demonstrate regulatory compliance and select suitable raw materials and reduce risks of contamination. For trace levels (sub-ppb) of Mercury the FIMS: Flow injection Mercury system is being used.

Heavy Metals Testing for Food Contact Materials
We can demonstrate robust analytical data or migration studies and quantification heavy metals including arsenic (As), cadmium (Cd), chromium (Cr), lead (Pb), and mercury (Hg) which are not authorised to be used in plastic materials and articles intended to come into contact with food. While the levels of heavy metals are normally brought under control during the manufacturing stages of plastic materials, these metals sometimes be present as contaminants in final plastic materials and articles and so present health risk to consumers. Annex II of the Regulation (EU) 10/2011 has now clearly defined migration limits based on opinions of the EFSA Authority which would allow uniform analytical verification of compliance.

Your Food Packaging Testing Partner
Bringing quality, safety, and sustainability to life, we apply our food contact materials testing  expertise to support your food contact packaging development, compliance from early-stage R&D to recycling and beyond. Our portfolio of expertise includes migration testing, analysis for substances of concern including primary aromatic amines, per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), bisphenol A (BPA), bisphenol A diglycidyl ether (and related compounds), the release of microplastics, MOSH / MOAH and phthalates. Coupled with regulatory assurance, our innovation-led, end-to-end Total Quality Assurance proposition help organisations operate safely, effectively and with complete peace of mind in an increasingly complex, fast-changing world.

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