Lesson 27 : Food packaging material – potential contaminants from food packaging material
Rigid and semi-rigid plastic containers
They are used for example as:
Cups or tubs for margarine, processed meats, cheese, spreads, yoghurt, peanut butter, dried foods or ice cream and desserts (high-nitrile resin copolymers or high-impact polystyrene and acrylonitrile butadiene styrene).
Trays for meat products and chocolates, tubs for margarine or jams, and (polyvinyl chloride) - good oil resistance and low gas permeability.
Bottles and jars for fruit juices, squashes and juice concentrates, vinegar, cooking oil, milk, wine, syrup and, and as drums for salt and bulk fruit juices (HDPE, polyvinyl chloride).
Bottles for carbonated drinks (polyethylene terephthalate (PET) - PET is a very strong transparent glossy film that is a good moisture and gas barrier. It is biaxially oriented to develop the strength for use in carbonated drinks bottles.
Squeezable bottles and pots for mustard, mayonnaise, jams, tomato ketchup and other sauces (polypropylene coextruded with ethylene vinyl alcohol).
Trays for chocolates, eggs, or soft fruit.
Foam cartons or trays for eggs, fresh fruits and takeaway meals (polystyrene).
While the technical performance, safety and suitability for food applications is well understood for packaging materials, it is increasingly important to understand the environmental impact of such materials, and their wider sustainability performance.
A large variety of materials are currently used for food packaging. Any substance which migrates from the packaging into the food is of concern if it could be harmful to the consumer. Even if the migrating substance is not potentially harmful it could have an adverse effect on the flavour and acceptability of the food.