Food safety concerns not just food but also the packaging in contact with the food; such packaging materials are subject to highly stringent regulations.
In Europe, Directive 89/109/CE is the regulatory framework which led to the initial harmonization of national regulations for all materials. Directive 90/128/CE and its subsequent amendments specifically applies to all-plastic articles, be they mono-or multilayer structures.
Regulations are based on two fundamental principles:
The first entails ensuring that the constituents are harmless and non-toxic, and has led to the drawing-up of positive lists of allowable constituents.
- The second is based on measuring the inertia or stability of materials vs. food products using migration tests. These tests are designed to assess, in typical conditions of use, the quantities of constituents liable to be released by plastic packaging in contact with the food they contain. Migration test methods intended to check that materials comply with regulatory inertia requirements are being developed within the European (CEN), in which the Industry and Total in particular play an active part.