Sirap Group has received EU approval for an active packaging system designed to absorb liquids on plastic trays for a raft of fresh foods.
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) earlier this month said there were no safety concerns for the open-cell extended polystyrene (EPS) substrate manufactured with talc and alkyl(C8-C22) sulphonic acid developed by the Italian company.
The agency carried out the evaluation under EC Regulation No 450/2009 on active and intelligent packaging which stipulates that any substance to be used for this purpose be first vetted for approval for addition to a positive list.
The dossier, with CAS No 14807-96 and FCM substance No 615, was referred to EFSA by the Ministero della Salute in Italy.
Sirap said its EPS – made with both general purpose and high impact material – was intended for use as a liquid absorber in the storage of fresh meat, poultry and fish. The system has an absorption capacity of 20 g water/dm sq.
The open-cell structure is realised by the use of talc combined with alkyl (C8-C22) sulphonic acid (salts) as surfactant to increase the wettability of polystyrene.
“This combination of a hydrophilic structure with interconnected open cells provides the absorption capacity for polar liquids by capillary action. The open-cell EPS is applied in form of trays. It can also be layered with rigid PS in order to improve the mechanical strength of the trays,” said EFSA’s expert CEF panel on food contact materials.
All the individual components of the system have already been approved under EC Regulation (EU) No 10/2011 and therefore no further toxicological data was needed, added the food safety watchdog.
Migration tests were carried out as part of a process to gather non-toxicological data.
The migration analysis results for trays made of open-cell EPS into water and 3% acetic acid for 10 days at 40 °C have been provided and demonstrated the compliance with the overall migration limit and the SML for alkyl (C8-C22) sulphonic acid (salts) as established by Commission Regulation (EU) 10/2011, EFSA found.
The panel concluded: "Provided that the provisions of the Commission Regulation (EU) 10/2011 are respected, the CEF Panel concluded that the use of open-cell expanded polystyrene, manufactured with polystyrene, talc and alkyl (C8-C22) sulphonic acid (salts) does not raise a safety concern when used as liquid absorber in contact with fresh meat, poultry and fish.”
An initial approval published on 31 May, 2012 was amended and republished in June.