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Migration from recycled paper and board to dry foods. Research into the factors involved, leading to practical avoidance and amelioration measures
Project Code: A03021
Food and Environment Research Agency, Sand Hutton, York YO41 1LZ
The scientific problem is that the factors that control the migration of contaminants from cellulosic fibres such as recycled paper and board, are poorly understood. Recycled paper and board has found a ready outlet and is widely used for packaging dry foods. However, paper and board made from recovered fibres has less reliable purity characteristics than virgin paper because of residues that may not be removed completely. The economic and environmental benefits of paper recycling are considerable but for food packaging it is clearly problematical so long as the fundamental migration science is poorly understood. This project has addressed this issue.
The fact that there were no significant differences noted between the different uncoated paper/board samples tested, in the distribution coefficients measured, means that there is no obvious way to moderate the migration properties of P/B samples by modifying their basic composition – other than to introduce a barrier layer by, for example, laminating to a plastic film. Since migration can occur if there is direct contact between the paper/board and a powdered (or small particle size) dry food, the following options are available (individually or in combination) to keep migration within acceptable limits:- a) keep the initial content of potential migrants in the P/B within limits
- source control
- effective cleaning
- frequent testing of batches/lots
With the understanding of migration behaviour and modelling that has been gained in this project, the effectiveness of these control measures and, vice versa, relevant performance criteria for these control measures, could now be established.
This report has a large body of Appendices linked to it which are available from the Chief Scientist’s Team: firstname.lastname@example.org
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