The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has found a polymeric additive and an active substance to be safe for food contact materials in two seperate opinions.
The additive ethylene-vinyl acetate copolymer wax was assessed for use as a dispersing agent, lubricant, pigment carrier, and/or a processing aid in production of plastic materials made from polymers such as polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP) or polyethylene terephthalate (PET).
In the other case, active substances palladium metal and hydrogen gas, intended to be used as an oxygen scavenger in packages of foods and beverages at room temperature or below, was studied.
Scientific opinions were delivered by the EFSA Panel on Food Contact Materials, Enzymes, Flavourings and Processing Aids (CEF).
BASF applied for a safety assessment of the copolymer wax which was brought to the CEF panel by Bundesamt für Verbraucherschutz und Lebensmittelsicherheit, Germany.
Final articles are intended for repeated contact with foodstuffs at any condition of time and temperature.
The copolymer starts decomposing at temperatures above 230 °C, which is above the maximum process temperature of PE and PP but below the maximum process temperature of PET.
CEF considered that in the absence of information on possible thermal decomposition products, the use of the substance in PET should be excluded.
The panel concluded that it does not represent a safety concern for the consumer if it is only used as an additive up to 2% w/w in polyolefin materials and articles and migration of low molecular weight oligomeric fraction below 1,000 Daltons does not exceed 5 mg/kg food.
Active substance approved
The active substances are designed as a gas permeable but liquid impermeable laminated pad, which is placed within a cap or closure or as an adhesive label on tray lids.
Specific migration of palladium metal into conventional food simulants was not detected at the limit of quantification of 0.6 μg/kg.
The evaluation followed a request from the Food Standards Agency (FSA) and the dossier was submitted by Emco Packaging systems.
According to Emco, the active component aims to extend products shelf life by scavenging the residual oxygen in the packages headspace and is applied by electron beam deposition.
Foods must be packed under modified atmosphere with hydrogen at a level up to 5.7%.
The oxygen scavenger will be used in packages of fresh fruit juices, carbonated soft drinks, wines and beers, milk formulation powders, cheeses and cream, delicatessen meats, “ready-to-eat‟ and “ready-to-cook‟ prepared meal products, at room temperature for long storage or at refrigeration temperatures for short storage times.
Palladium should not be in direct contact with food and should be incorporated in a passive structure impermeable to liquids which prevents the migration at detectable levels.
The CEF Panel concluded that that the active substances palladium metal and hydrogen gas do not raise a safety concern for the consumer when used as an oxygen scavenger in packages for foods and beverages at room temperatures or below.
To read the BASF opinion in more detail click here
To read the Emco opinion in more detail click here