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All clear for low-migration labels

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All clear for low-migration labels

May 06
10:28 2013

It’s a known fact that constituents of any adhesive applied to labels can migrate through food packaging. Self-adhesive materials specialist HERMA is demonstrating how labels can be made much less susceptible to migration without impairing their adhesive qualities – not with a special adhesive, but by using multi-layer technology.

The revelation that printing ink constituents can pass through packaging materials caused shock waves throughout the food industry. The focus of the debate is now gradually widening to encompass labels as well. More and more often, packaging specialists in the food industry are asking whether individual constituents of the adhesives applied to labels are also capable of migrating into food, and they want to know about the possible consequences. As a general rule, the risks associated with labels are appreciably lower than those related to inks. Adhesives that are certified for use with food do not contain any toxic or other substances giving cause for concern. It is only natural that food producers nonetheless wish to avoid migration as far as possible, especially since many packaging films do not offer effective barrier properties. “Very low-migration labels existed in the past, but the greater the protection afforded by the label, the less effective its adhesion,” explains Dr. Thomas Baumgärtner, managing director of self-adhesive

materials specialist HERMA, which also has a subsidiary in theUK. “But poor adhesion is a compromise that the food industry is unable to accept. It demands absolutely reliable labelling and traceability.”

Decisive second layer

“From a technical perspective, the solution lies in reducing the proportion of constituents that are capable of migrating, without changing the adhesive properties,” points out Dr. Baumgärtner. “This is now possible, by applying a specially formulated second coat to the label material at the same time as the adhesive.” HERMA is a global pioneer in implementing the relevant multi-layer process on an industrial scale. Drawing attention to another key aspect, Dr. Baumgärtner says, “The particular adhesive is already well proven on the market; the new second layer alone is responsible for modifying the migration behaviour.” This is by no means a special product, therefore, but a solution based on extensive

experience. The application of multi-layer technology by HERMA is emerging as standard practice, but without inflating the price of the adhesives. “If the buyers of packaging materials and consumables ask the right questions, every label printer nowadays can supply very low-migration labels that are no more expensive than comparable single-layer labels,” insists Colin Phillips, division director of HERMA UK Ltd. in Newbury.

Approved for direct food contact

The food-safe adhesive 62Dps has already been tested by the reputable German institute ISEGA. Alongside a whole series of other standard adhesives, it has been certified for direct contact with dry, moist and fatty foodstuffs (reduction factor 3). “This new adhesive gives users in the packaging industry the security they need at all times,” comments Dr. Baumgärtner. This applies not only to the direct, often unintentional contact that is made with foodstuffs, but also in situations in which the

packaging material, such as foil or film, is designed to provide, but is not always capable of ensuring a fully effective protective barrier.

Brief profile of HERMA

Located in Filderstadt near Stuttgart (Germany), HERMA GmbH is a leading European specialist in self-adhesive technology. In the 2012 fiscal year, the HERMA Group generated sales of around €245.6 million with 840 employees. HERMA’s adhesive materials are sold in the UK through HERMA UK of Newbury, Berkshire, www.herma.co.uk.

 

 

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