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Danielle Jerschefske: Ink migration solutions for food packaging

Ink suppliers at Labelexpo Europe 2011 presented in unison low migration solutions for the food packaging market, which has especially felt legislative pressures in Europe regarding contamination of products packaged with volatile inks that can infiltrate food and harm consumers. Most suppliers complete internal R&D and migration testing, but also support their findings through third-party evaluations.

Current legislation for migratory inks & food packaging in Europe include:

  • Commission Directive 97/48/EC
  • EuPIA Photoinitiator Suitability List 1A
  • Swiss Ordinance on Materials and Articles in contact with food (SR 817.023.21)

Flint Group introduced its Flexocure Ancora low migration UV flexo line of inks that offer high performance while in compliance with the Swiss Ordinance on Materials and Articles (SR 817.023.21). The Flexocure Ancora line additionally provides good adhesion and scratch resistance on synthetic materials.

Christina Eriksson, R&D manager of Flint Group Narrow Web, explains the migration studies conducted on Flint Group’s new Flexocure Ancora line: ‘For this new ink series we have conducted migration tests at several independent institutes, as well as in our own analytical laboratories. The migration measurements have indicated, that when correctly applied on suitable packaging structures migration levels with Flexocure Ancora are below currently accepted limits. This was verified based on the standard migration test method using the food stimulants 95 percent ethanol and Tenax as set out in Commission Directive 97/48/EC. Furthermore we have the confirmation of leading end users that the ingredients used in Flexocure Ancora are meeting their company guidelines.’

Ruco launched its new UVFX/MA line of low-migration and silicone-free ink systems that complies with Nestle standards, EuPIA Photoinitiatior Suitability List 1A and too with SR 817.023.21. The UVFX/MA line offers high opacity, printability at effective printing speeds and good chemical resistance properties.

Sun Chemical promoted its various lines of low-migration inks: SunCure FLM for UV offset, SolarFlex LM for UV flexo and SunBeam ELM for EB offset printing. The supplier issued a ‘Best Practice Guide to Food Packaging Printing’ to help converters better understand the complex issue gaining strength particularly in Europe. The guide was fortified by a presentation on the first day of the show in the new Package Printing Zone ‘Safe printed food packaging – how safe am I?’ Also, the company enlisted the support of Muller Martini on its stand to demonstrate the benefits of using Sun Chemical EB curable offset inks for food packaging.

Pulse’s SLM line of low migration compliant inks offers some unique characteristics not found in many other booths. For instance, the SLM line offers good shrink characteristics, more than 70 percent, with good adhesion on filmic materials and has metallic options available.

Siegwerk exhibited for the first time at the show since its acquisition of Environmental Inks and Coatings in December 2010.  The company has full lines of low migration inks, varnishes and coatings for UV flexo, UV offset and waterless UV offset printing. Substrate depending – paper, plastic, carton board – the various Sicura lines – 39-10 LM, 39-20 LM, LM 361, Plast LM and Plast 41 WL LM – supported by low-migration gloss and matte varnishes and metallic ink series provide label converters and package printers with myriad options for effectively servicing the food packaging market. 

Zeller + Gmelin too has lines of low migration products for UV flexo and UV offset printing and coating systems. UVAflex Y71 for UV flexo has a high opacity white ink for standard materials and also a high opacity white ink specially designed for shrink sleeve applications. The UVAlux series U41 is designed for UV offset and screen printing on papers and films while the U71 series is especially for UV offset printing on thin film materials.

Marabu promoted its rotary screen printing opaque white UltraRotaScreen UVSF 174 low migration ink for combined UV screen and UV flexo printing.

Click here to read a UV food package printing success story

Danielle Jerschefske
North America editor
Labels & Labeling


Danielle Jerschefske is Labels & Labeling's sustainability consultant.

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