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Flexo Sustainable : Year End 2011
Today, brand owners' continually demand packag- ing that must provide shelf appeal, offer significantly enhanced communication, be recyclable and sustain- able, extend the shelf life, be lightweight, at times serve as a cooking vessel; and, in some cases, even self-heat. All of these attributes must come at a reasonable cost against alternatives in an ever tougher market. At the same time, the regulatory landscape is making it safer, but more complex, for the package to comply with all the stipulations that are being placed upon it. Over the past 10 years, in Europe especially, there has been an increasing number of food packaging migration alerts highlighted by several product withdrawals from supermarket shelves. These migration alerts have resulted in growing scrutiny regarding the design and production of compliant food packaging. Due to tighter regulations and restrictions in Europe, flexible packaging printers and converters face a greater challenge than ever to ensure that they meet brand owner requirements, but do so in a way that prevents packaging materials from migrating to food. DEFINING MIGRATION Migration from food packaging refers to the transfer of un- wanted substances from the packaging to the packaged food- stuff itself. These changes are not always picked up by odor or taste tests, and are usually found by chemical analyses. The migrating substances can come from a variety of sources, including the packaging substrates, inks, coatings, adhesives, the printing press itself or the environment that the raw materi- als, work in progress or the finished printed pack, are stored in. Use of good packaging design and manufacturing prac- tices are therefore critical to reducing the risk of unwanted migration of packaging components. In Europe, packaging that is intended to come into contact with food must meet the requirements of EU Regulation (EC) No 1935/2004. The guiding principle of this legislation requires One example of low-migration technology is Sun Chemical's SunBar oxygen barrier coatings, which can be applied to many filmic substrates to replace or enhance current barrier technologies in a sustainable, cost effective manner. Photos: Sun Chemical Food Packaging Safety Reducing the Risk of Migration By Anthony Bean 10 Sustainable FLEXO YEAR-END 2011 www.flexomag.com