Food packaging interactions: migration

Friday, February 24, 2017

Food-packaging interactions can be defined as a mass or energy interplay between food, packaging and the environment, which produces an effect on the food, and/or the package. Food packaging interactions can be divided into three main phenomena: migration, permeation and absorption.

These phenomena can occur separately or simultaneously and can affect food quality. Migration of packaging components, like residual monomers, additives or polymerization aids, can cause an undesirable contamination of food.

The migration of compounds from polymer pacing materials to foods was the first type of interaction to be investigated due to the concern that human health might be endangered by the leaching of residues from the polymerization.

Additives and fillers used during fabrication of polymeric food packaging material can migrate to foodstuff thereby contaminating and degrading the quality of packaged food. Packaging plastics can release small amounts of chemical upon coming in contact with foodstuffs.

Migration of such food components may adversely affect the quality of food, e.g. alteration of flavor. Therefore, knowledge of food packaging interaction, in terms of the species that can migrate from the packaging to the foodstuffs, is essential for assurance of food quality.

For example, polycarbonates and phenolic-epoxy resins, used for making plastic packaging containers and as food –can coatings respectively, may release bisphenol.

Migration processes can be divided into three classes:
Class 1 – Non-migrating materials, with or without the presence of food
Class 2- Independently migrating and not controlled by the food, although the presence of food may accelerate the migration
Class 3 – Leaching; migration controlled by the food; negligible in the absence of food
Food packaging interactions: migration

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