Plastics for the food industry
Parma/Italy – Laws, materials and test procedures – those were the topics discussed by experts at the "Plastics and foodstuffs: Applicable legal provisions - a challenge for the industry?" conference held at the University of Parma. One of the speakers was Norbert Hendel, Senior Engineer Marketing & Development at Röchling Sustaplast KG in Lahnstein, who set out the legal requirements on plastics for contact with food in the EU and the USA. He then gave a well-received presentation on the extensive range of materials offered by Röchling for the food industry
The majority of our food is produced using industrial equipment. Baked goods, meat, fish, poultry, fruit and sweets go through various production steps on complex machinery. This necessarily means that they come into contact with machine components such as freight containers, slide rails, conveyor feed screws, scrapers or filling equipment, most of which consist of plastic. Any negative effect of the materials on the food and health of consumers must be precluded. Since May 2011 legislation on plastics for contact with food in the EU has become much stricter and more extensive with Regulation 10/2011/EU. At the conference in Parma, the heart of the Italian food industry, 80 experts from business and science learned about the applicable legal requirements on materials, hygiene regulations for machinery, test procedures and innovative packaging systems.
High legal standards
Dr. Giuseppe Vignali, Scientific Responsible of CIPACK – the Interdepartmental Center for Packaging – of the University of Parma, opened the conference with a welcome speech in which he emphasised the importance of collaboration between universities and the industry.
Norbert Hendel, who is responsible for applications in the food industry of Röchling, then set out the legal requirements on plastics for contact with food in the European Union and the USA with the support of the Italian subsidiary, Röchling Engineering Plastics Italia, s.r.l. As the market leader in plastics from PE to PEEK, Röchling offers the food industry a unique spectrum of products ranging from standard plastics to high-temperature plastics for direct contact with food that meet the high standards imposed by EU Regulation 10/2011/EU, its revision 1282/2011/EU, Framework Regulation 1935/2004/EC and Regulation 2023/2006/EC. In addition, many Röchling materials also conform to the requirements of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Toughest test conditions
In the EU, suitability for foodstuffs is verified by means of migration tests in accordance with Regulation 10/2011/EU. Röchling conducts the tests under the toughest test conditions in terms of temperature and duration. This ensures that the plastic products meet the high legal standards and do not have a negative influence on the health of consumers and the composition, taste, odour and appearance of the food.
Hendel also presented examples of the use of plastic components in the food industry. With its extensive range of materials, Röchling covers almost all requirements with regard to temperature and time in the industrial production of food.
Prof. Roberto Massini, Scientific Responsible of SITEI – the Interdepartmental Center for the Security of Innovative Food Farming Technologies – of the University of Parma, then spoke on the hygiene requirements on machinery used in the food industry.
Dr. Nicola Zucchetto (CIPACK) presented innovative packaging systems for industrial production.
Prof. Claudio Mucchino, Prof. Claudio Corradini and Prof. Federica Bianchi of the Chemistry Department of CIPACK addressed analytical and test procedures for materials intended for contact with Food.