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FCM ( Overall and Specific/ Migration)

METS Lab’s FCM testing helps you to evaluate food contact materials, comply with the requirements of local and global regulations and standards and build consumer trust and saturation. 

We perform physical and chemical testing at our chemical testing labs to evaluate contact materials such as plastic, paper, glass, crockery, cutlery, etc. Our testing services help you confirm food safety and hygiene throughout the supply chain cycle from processing to packaging, from shelf to consumer. 

Our testing includes overall migration analysis, specific migration, heavy metal, composition and material, denitrification, migration of colorants, PCP contact etc. To offer you a test report of your product no matter how large or small your business, how simple or complex your requirements we are with our accredited lab testing facility, coupled with our specialized team of expert, we protect your brand and your business.

Migration Analysis/Testing

Migration testing is the analysis performed on plastic and polymeric products that are in contact with food to determine whether chemical substances are transferred from packaging and food contact materials to food. Regular packaging testing can ensure total safety across all your production processes. All types of food packaging materials, including recycled plastics, paper, cardboard, glass, or metals, can contain dangerous contaminants that can migrate into food. As such, raw, intermediate and final packaging materials need to be analysed to prevent the risk of contamination and ensure compliance with health and safety requirements. With increasing global restrictions for food contact materials (FCMs) and emerging contaminants under scrutiny, now more than ever, manufacturers need to take regular measures to ensure their packaging does not pose a risk to food.

Migration analysis mainly are of two types – Overall Migration Test and Specific Migration Test

Overall Migration Analysis

Overall Migration Test refers to the transition of only certain molecules or elements from the plastic structure to food. Specific migration refers to the transition of only certain molecules or elements from the plastic structure to food.

The Overall Migration limit (OML) applies to the sum of all substances that migrate from the FCM into food (or food simulant). This limit is used in food contact regulations in Europe, China, and South America (Mercosur), among others. Notably, US FDA does not specify an OML, although similar requirements are in place. Our scientists are experienced in conducting migration testing to standard DIN EN 1186 Materials and articles in contact with foodstuffs – Plastics, which provides guidance on the selection of conditions and test methospds for overall migration.

Food packaging is considered as the underrated origin of chemical food contamination because there occurs a transfer of chemical contaminants from food contact materials to food. This transfer of chemical contaminants is called migration. So, it is crucial to test the migration of food contact materials to ensure safety of the food products. Migration limits are established based on the toxicological risk of these food contacting materials. The Overall Migration limit is the sum of all substances that migrate from the food contacting material to the food. EN 1186-3 (Materials and articles in contact with foodstuffs – Plastics – Part 3: Test methods for overall migration into aqueous food simulants by total immersion) recommended the determination of overall migration of plastics by total immersion in the food simulants under test conditions for a particular period of time.  The result for migration is evaluated gravimetrically by weighing the evaporated food stimulant.  EN 1186-9 (Materials and articles in contact with foodstuffs – Plastics – Part 9: Test methods for overall migration into aqueous food simulants by article filling) demonstrated the determination of overall migration into aqueous based food simulants from plastics which are intended to come into contact with foodstuffs, by filling articles with aqueous food simulant. GSO 1863/2013 establishes an overall migration limit for plastic food contact materials of less than 10 mg/dm2 or 60 mg/kg.

Specific Migration Analysis

A Specific Migration Limit (SML) applies to an individual substance or to a group of similar substances. The established limits are based on the toxicological hazard that a substance causes. Analytical techniques are used to identify the presence of these substances in food (and food simulants). Limits specific to the migration of certain substances can be found in almost every food contact regulation, ranging from a handful of high-risk substances to extensive lists of constituents with a SML. For plastic FCMs, standard DIN EN 13130 Materials and articles in contact with foodstuffs is relevant.

Plastics, glass, Ceramic, metal and alloy-based food-contact materials are potentially releasing toxic heavy metals.  Metal migration from food contact materials into food is becoming a major public health concern; so it is important to determine specific migration of metals of these food contacting materials. Specific migration of metals from these samples can be determined by employing ICP-AES or AAS by contacting the sample with food simulants at specific temperature and for a specific period of time.  ISO 6486-1:2019, ISO 7086-1:2019, ISO 8391-1:1986.

In food packaging specification testing, substances are assessed by their properties which are related to quality, purity or indirectly to migration behaviour. These tests are intended to verify whether a substance meets the specifications that the legislator originally used to allow a substance for use in food contact materials. These tests are applied to many substances that are regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Title 21 of the Code of Federal Regulations. The Chinese food contact framework also uses these tests in conjunction with overall and specific migration requirements.

We also have expertise for specific migration testing for a range of substances of concern including bisphenol Aprimary aromatic amines (PAAs)metal containing substances and phthalates, per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), bisphenol A diglycidyl ether (and related compounds), UV-ink photoinitiators and the release of microplastics.