Migration Matters

Read our article  about food packaging and concerns about how it can be the source of chemical contaminants that can migrate into food.

What is migration?

According to Dr Jane Muncke of the Food Packaging Forum Foundation in Zurich, Switzerland, chemical partitioning from the packaging into the food is known as migration. Migration is of relevance for smaller size compounds (below 1,000 Da). The extent to which migration occurs depends on various factors including:

  • The physio-chemical properties of the migrant of the packaging material, and the food (e.g., fat content)
  • Temperature
  • Storage time
  • Size of the packaging in proportion to the foodstuff volume (smaller size packaging has a larger surface to volume ratio).

The types of chemicals that can migrate from packaging into food are highly diverse and depend on the type of packaging material.

What we’re doing to prevent the migration of chemical contaminants into food

FC Cartons is on the frontline of migration. Many of the products we convert for our customers are used in food packaging. We carry out regular audits to ensure that there are stringent standards in place to prevent contamination. More importantly, we ensure the supplies we use in carton finishing are compliant with legislation, plus, we keep our MSDS/Food Compliant Statements on hand so that we can show them to our customers. We also enjoy a good dialogue with our suppliers and have the support of their technical teams in order to meet our customers’ needs.

Can food be packed safely in cartons?

Non-inert materials, like paper and board or plastics, can be a direct source of migrants. Chemicals may also migrate from the outside through the packaging. Printing inks for instance, have been shown to migrate through paper board into dry foods. The large pore size of paper-based materials permits smaller molecules to migrate from the outside to the food inside. The use of barrier materials can reduce food contamination significantly. For example, a carton with an inner bag that contains the foodstuff and that is made of aluminium foil or plastics with barrier properties.

A special case of migration is ‘off-set migration’: the printed, outside layer of a food packaging can transfer chemicals to the inside, direct food contact layer when both layers are in direct contact with each other. Off-set migration occurs when beverage carton sheets are stored in rolls, or when paper cups are stacked into each other.

How is migration tested?

To determine the extent of chemical transfer from packaging into food migrants are measured in food simulants, not actual foodstuffs. Food simulants are used as substitutes for food due to the simplification of chemical analysis: Chemical detection and quantification requires specific analytical methods for each chemical of interest, specially developed for each food or food simulant type.

Recognising Talent and Commitment:

Liam Cox is Appointed Operations Director

liam-profileAs Operations Director Liam will lead by example to promote our values, vision and guiding principles, he will have a hand in managing all aspects of the business. He will play a crucial role in ensuring that we have the best working environment and processes to meet the needs of the business, our customers and staff in a timely and efficient manner.

He will evaluate how fc operates and manage the implementation of business guidelines and strategies. In addition, he will ensure that we have an optimum working environment to ensure everything runs smoothly and in accordance with guidelines.

Liam joined fc on day one back in 2003 when we were based in Hawthorn Road. He showed off his multi-tasking talents then, driving the forklift, managing goods in/out and at times taking off on the machine.

At the time, it was clear that Liam had the attributes to enable him to develop and grow with the business.

Gradually, Liam progressed through the ranks to become Operations Manager and during his time in this role we added more and more processes. His team grew from 10 to 30 and the business built a reputation of providing a first class service backed by the robust quality of both our processes and systems. More importantly, Liam’s contribution has been significant to our success over the last 11 years.

In addition, we have seen Liam develop greater maturity, his confidence has grown and his product and industry knowledge are second to none. He leads from the front, demonstrating our values and guiding principles throughout the business. His commitment to the business is unquestionable. We have recognised his achievements and he has earned himself the prestigious position of fc cartons’ Operations Director.

Speaking about Liam’s new appointment, fc’s Finance Director, Debra Woodyatt said, ‘We are delighted to have Liam on the team. He is a seasoned industry leader and his wealth of experience will be extremely valuable as we continue to grow and diversify. We’re looking forward to developing the business further.’