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Siegwerk raises red flag on packaging inks

Friday, 06 April 2018
By Print 21 Online Article

Siegwerk product safety experts. 

Ink producer Siegwerk underlined its ‘commitment to product safety’ by expanding an Ink Safety Portal database to address global concerns about food safety.

‘More scrutiny’: Dr. Evert Delbanco, director food Safety & Toxicology, Siegwerk.

“As consumers become increasingly critical of health-related aspects and personal well-being, more scrutiny has been placed on how products they consume are packaged,” said Dr. Evert Delbanco, Siegwerk’s director Food Safety & Toxicology.

Siegwerk’s Ink Safety Portal, launched in 2017, has been strengthened to offer information on “crucial product safety and regulatory topics such as: printing ink ingredients, regulatory affairs requirements, exposure assessments and safety evaluations.”

A new Worst Case Calculator allows users to determine the maximum amount of substances that could lead, in the worst case, to migrate into packaged food.

The calculator offers in a user-friendly style variables to determine the exact results: migrant name or chemical identifier, content of migrant in solid ink film, dry ink applied per square meter, area coverage of ink and surface-to-mass ratio. 

Another new resource on the portal is a video that explains Non-Intentionally Added Substances (NIAS) – all chemical substances which are not intentionally added and do not have an intended and specific function within the ink formulation.

These can be for example impurities in the raw materials, a reaction intermediate formed during the production process or a decomposition product. To ensure consumers are not harmed by any substances migrating from packaged material, all NIAS are subject to risk assessments conducted by Siegwerk product safety experts.

“Safe and legally compliant quality products form the basis for customer trust – a key element for long-term relationships,” said Delbanco.

The move by German-based Siegwerk reflects growing global consumer awareness about the safety risks from chemicals that may migrate from packaging into food.

India-based Packaging South Asia magazine this week called for a total ban on the use of the “extremely harmful” industrial solvent Toluene, which is used in the flexible packaging industry for printing on packaging.

“It’s estimated that 90 percent of the inks used in rotogravure printing, which is by far the predominant printing process used by the Indian packaging industry, are based on toluene formulations,” writes S Chidambar. “There are two ways in which toluene can be unsafe. One is through migration into package contents and the other is by inhalation and exposure to it through handling of toluene-based inks by operators and other workers during the printing process.”

The Australian Department of the Environment and Energy says Toluene (methylbenzene) is used here in petrol, paints, lacquers, inks, adhesives, rubber, cleaning agents, dyes and cosmetic nail products. It is also used against roundworms and hookworms.

The department’s website says: Short-term exposure to high levels of toluene results first in light-headedness and euphoria, followed by dizziness, sleepiness, unconsciousness, and in some cases death.

The primary sources of toluene are the industries that manufacture it or use it in production – oil refiners, chemical industry, rubber manufacturers, pharmaceutical industry, metal degreasing, printing, manufacturers of paints, varnishes and lacquers.

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