The scientific problem is that the factors that control the migration of contaminants from cellulosic fibres such as recycled paper and board, are poorly understood. Recycled paper and board has found a ready outlet and is widely used for packaging dry foods. However, paper and board made from recovered fibres has less reliable purity characteristics than virgin paper because of residues that may not be removed completely. The economic and environmental benefits of paper recycling are considerable but for food packaging it is clearly problematical so long as the fundamental migration science is poorly understood.
This project has researched migration to dry foods in order to generate a scientific understanding of the physico-chemical behaviour of chemical contaminants on paper and board fibres as a basis for safety evaluation and definition of criteria for the appropriate use of recycled fibres for food packaging.
The project aims were realised via a group of 6 linked objectives, which were:
1. Identify the main contaminants in wastepaper feedstock and in recycled P&B
2. Determine the sorption/desorption parameters for contaminants on cellulosic fibres
3. Determine sorption/desorption parameters for P&B coated with barrier layers
4. Determine migration of actual contaminants and surrogate contaminants into dry foods and dry simulants
5. Develop and verify a mathematical model to describe and predict the migration process
6. Prepare recommendations and practical guidelines for the safe reuse of recycled fibres for packaging dry foods
<p>Find more about this project and other FSA food safety-related projects at the <a href="http://www.food.gov.uk/science/research/" target="_blank">Food Standards Agency Research webpage</a>.