FDA approves UV/EB technology for food contact in packaging production; research finds flexible packaging is a more sustainable alternative to rigid, and more.

FDA approves UV/EB technology for food contact in packaging production
On March 8, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first range of materials cured by ultraviolet (UV) or electron beam (EB) irradiation in any combination for direct food contact. Food Contact Notification (FCN) 772 covers a range of acrylates and an optional photo-initiator, that, according to the FDA, can be “used as coatings (including inks) or components of coatings (including inks) on polymeric substrates, paper and paperboard, metal substrates or as a component in adhesives.”

According to the RadTech Food Contact Notification Alliance, this breakthrough food contact approval for UV/EB curable formulations is expected to open new applications for UV and EB curing that previously might have been limited by lack of explicit food contact clearance.

It may also speed up the development process: Formulations that combine the FCN materials with already FDA-sanctioned components may be commercialized for foodpackaging without having to obtain additional FDA clearance.

Under FDA regulations, only Alliance members and their customers may claim clearance for materials and formulations selected from FCN 772. The range of cleared acrylates will probably be expanded, because Alliance members are permitted to incorporate the Alliance FCN master files by reference in new FCN filings.

This will minimize the additional information, time and cost needed by companies to clear their own proprietary UV/EB curing materials and formulations.

Research finds flexible packaging is a more sustainable alternative to rigid
Research conducted by Zip-Pak, a leader in resealable packaging technology, found that flexible packaging leaves a smaller environmental footprint than rigid alternatives.

Investigators examined eight packaging systems consisting of six deli meat packages and two breakfast cereal packages. The packages included both flexible packaging formats with resealable closures, as well as rigid packaging formats.

Researchers determined that products packaged in flexible pouches had lower energy consumption, solid waste generation and greenhouse gas emissions than the rigid systemsincluded in the analysis. Further, although transportation energy accounted for less than 17% of total energy for all systems, the results show that transportation energy requirements for the reusable rigid containers are higher than for the flexible packs.

815-468-6500; www.zippak.com

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