On March 26, 2014 the adhesive manufacturer Henkel held its 4th Food Safe Packaging Forum in Manchester, UK. Participants came from different areas of the food packaging supply chain, ranging from food packaging materials or component manufacturers, over food manufacturers and food brands to retail stores. At the meeting, Paul Earnshaw, Packaging Manager at Tesco, argued that online retail will be the new focus of large retailers, demanding new properties of food packaging. Alistair Irvine of the consulting firm Smithers Pira outlined the legal framework for adhesives used in food contact materials. He detailed that as adhesives are not specifically regulated at the European level, the recommendations XIV, XXVII and XXV of the German Federal Institute for Risk Evaluation (BfR) provide guidance for adhesive manufacturers. Dave Carter, Product Development Manager at Henkel, pointed out that Henkel aims to increase adhesive’s safety by not using phthalates, reducing the amounts of residing monomers and replacing low molecular weight molecules with polymers where possible in its products. Alison Ingle, Packaging Manager at Nestlé UK, communicated in her presentation that Nestlé no longer accepted bisphenol analogues or phthalates in food packaging used for its products, and that it had set specific requirements for the use of acrylic adhesives, polyurethane adhesives, toluene and natural rubber latex. Monika Toenniessen, Product Safety Manager at Henkel, gave an overview over chemical migration and pointed out that migration is determined by the physico-chemical properties of the migrant, the packaging material, and the food, temperature, storage time and relative size of packaging to food stuff volume. In the case of adhesives, monomers, oils, waxes, stabilizers, additives and antioxidants are typical suspects for migration requiring controls. Finally, Elaine Murray from the packaging converter Chesapeake provided insights into the issue of ensuring packaging compliances throughout the supply chain, and Luca Facheris of Henkel concluded with a status report and outlook on food safety in the supply chain.
The Food Safe Packaging Forum is part of a larger effort by Henkel to engage in supply chain communication on food packaging safety. It was preceded by similar events in Germany, France and Italy.