Through the joint research project KiM – Safe Packaging, Nofima scientist are investigating chemicals in food packaging. Photo: Jon-Are Berg-Jacobsen/Nofima

Project Year 2016

Is food packaging safe?

 Food safety and quality  

We take for granted that the food we eat is safe. But what about the packaging? Currently there are international harmonised regulations only for plastics.

Plastic, paper and cardboard, ink and glue are all common ingredients in food packaging. It is important that the food we buy and eat is prepackaged in terms of safty, shelf life and to reduce food wastage. But can substances in the packaging migrate to the food and have a negative impact on it?

This is what a team of Nofima scientists are trying to find out through the joint research project KiM – Safe Packaging.

Still not in place

“The project’s goals is to investigate the scope of and problems related to the chemicals in food packaging in Norway. By generating new knowledge and developing new analysis methods for chemicals in food packaging, we can contribute to safe packaging and better food safety,” says project manager Isabell Lien.

It is very important for producers and consumers that the food is not contaminated by hazardous substances that migrate from the packaging materials.

Today only migrants from plastics are harmonised and regulated in the EU; harmonised regulations for cardboard, inks and laminating adhesives are still not in place.

Nofima scientists are involved in the investigation of use of chemicals used, the regulations, substance lists and databases, as well as in developing methods for chemicals that currently lack analysis methods.

Encouraging results

The project will help the industry to avoid using substances that are not toxicologically evaluated or that will be present in the packaging in quantities that may pose a health hazard.

“Commercially, it will make Norwegian packaging industry more competitive towards imported packaging from low-cost countries that do not have the same focus on chemicals in packaging as in Europe,” says Lien.

27 packages for various food products have been investigated in this Innovation Project for the Industrial Sector run by Elopak Technology Center (ETC). And the results are encouraging:

“All the packaging investigated complies with the regulatory requirements – by a wide margin,” says Isabell Lien.

Elopak, Norner AS and packaging manufacturers, food producers and wholesalers

The Research Council of Norway

More useful research results