Innovia film prevents mineral oil migration

May 2015

INNOVIA Films recently launched its first BOPP film that has been officially proven to provide up to 1.5 years’ protection from mineral oil migration – Propafilm RCU.

Its development has been the result of proactive investigation into the mineral oil hydrocarbon (MOH) and mineral oil aromatic hydrocarbon (MOAH) barrier protection of their films.  It included the evaluation of films with multiple laydowns, increased coat weights and one side/two side variations.

This work commenced after earlier studies by Dr Koni Grob, from the official Food Control Authority of the Canton of Zurich, Switzerland identified that foods were being contaminated by migration of mineral oil from paper-board packaging. Further studies by the UK Food Standards Agency highlighted that safe levels were frequently exceeded in food packaging samples that were tested.

Traces of mineral oil residues in food are thought to arise due to their migration from the printing inks present both on the packaging surface and in recycled newspapers, used in the production of cardboard packaging.  Most commonly used newspaper inks contain mineral oils. These cannot be removed sufficiently during the recycling process and are thus able to enter cardboard food packaging. Even at room temperature these residues can migrate and be deposited on dried foods packaged in the box, such as pasta, rice, breakfast cereals and biscuits. MOAHs are suspected of being carcinogens, according to the World Health Organization’s Joint Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA), and the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

Innovia Films research results were published in a peer-reviewed white paper: ‘Mineral Oil Barrier Testing of Cellulose-based and Polypropylene-based films’ ublished online in Wiley Online Library.

The findings proved that their proprietary acrylic coated film provides an effective barrier to mineral oil migration.  Further analysis identified the optimum coat weight of acrylic required to maximise the barrier protection. This has meant that the development of Propafilm RCU has been fairly rapid.

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