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Study Information

  • Project name : Barriers against migration from food packaging
  • Category : Verpackungswissen
  • Author : Philippe Dubois
  • Complete date : September, 2021

Barriers against migration

Time and again, "toxic food packaging" appears in the headlines. Consumers are led to believe that hazardous substances can migrate from the packaging into the food and thus endanger health. The Joint Industry Group (JIG) of the Swiss Packaging Institute SVI is working with scientific partners to promote food-safe packaging. Now the project "Migration into food from closures of boxes made of recycled cardboard with an internal functional barrier" has been processed and completed. The Joint Industry Group on Packaging for Food Contact (JIG) is an association of companies along the value chain led by the Swiss Packaging Institute SVI. The players join forces in projects and agree that the migration of undesirable substances from the packaging into the food must be prevented. This should be done according to market-based and risk-based criteria.

In the discussion about food-safe packaging, the terms MOSH and MOAH usually come up. These abbreviations are used to describe two different groups of chemical compounds that occur in mineral oil. However, it has not yet been proven whether and in what concentrations these substances can be hazardous to health. In a first project of the JIG, the barrier effectiveness of inner bags in boxes made of recycled cardboard was investigated. As a result, the "SVI Guideline 2015.01_Inner bags" was published at the beginning of 2016 and received a great deal of attention throughout Europe.

In the summer of 2015, SVI launched the project "Barrier Coating for Recycled Cardboard" with the submission and testing of test materials from various international companies. Nine European companies supported the project financially and with test materials. A measurement method was developed under the direction of the Zurich Cantonal Laboratory. The tests were carried out in Zurich as well as at the Papiertechnische Stiftung PTS in Heidenau, Germany.

In this project, the effectiveness of barrier solutions on recycled board through the gas phase was considered. The first results of the submitted test materials were presented to the project funders on May 25, 2016. The findings obtained from the first project phase showed that the developed measurement method needed to be further adapted and developed.

The second phase of the project was characterized by the investigation of migration through the closures of the boxes. The development of a measurement method, as well as the requirement that the migration of all non-evaluated substances from recycled paperboard into food be below the 1% limit, was summarized in the document "Migration into food from closures of boxes made of recycled paperboard with an internal functional barrier." The report was published in the journal: "Packaging Technology and Science" on June 23, 2021.

In most cases, it concerns the contamination of food by mineral oils, one of the groups of substances capable of migration. These can enter the food at various stages of production, with waste paper or recycled cardboard packaging being one of the main sources of migration into the food. The projects mentioned above therefore focused on the use of barriers in recycled cardboard. With the requirement to increasingly use recycled plastics in food packaging in the future, new exciting projects are opening up for the JIG.

Information on the work of the JIG is provided by Philippe Dubois (, President of the SVI and Head of the JIG.