Migration of organic contaminants through paper and plastic packaging

Tiggelman, Ineke (2012-03)

Thesis (MSc)--Stellenbosch University, 2012.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The presence of mineral oils in dry foodstuff was found to originate from the packaging materials, namely, paperboard manufactured from recovered fibres, and these oils subsequently migrate to the foodstuff via the vapour phase. The presence of mineral oils in food is of concern as it originates from the use of paper products not originally intended for food contact applications, i.e., before the paper is subjected to a suitable recycling process. These mineral oils consist of technical grade compounds which may contain aromatic compounds and other components with unknown toxicological effects. Although the related authorities are currently considering the safe and legal limits of these contaminants in foodstuffs, as well as establishing a standardised test method for monitoring mineral oils in food and packaging materials, paperboard manufacturers wish to ensure that their products are safe for food contact applications. Since recycling is unavoidable, particularly from an ecological and economical point of view, one of the proposed solutions the industry is focussing on is the use of a functional barrier towards mineral oils – be it an inner bag as a direct food-contact surface, or a barrier coating directly applied on the inner side of the paperboard. In this study, a permeation test method was established, and developed, to evaluate the transmission rate of a volatile organic compound, acting as a mineral oil simulant, through model paper and plastic packaging materials. This was correlated to the transmission rate of actual mineral oil through the packaging materials, and therefore used as a highly accelerated tool to characterise packaging materials in relation to their barrier properties. The test method, referred to as the “heptane vapour transmission rate,” was subsequently used to derive the required transport parameters’ characteristics of each of the tested materials, which enabled an evaluation of the potential shelf-life of the packaged product. This research demonstrated that barrier-coated paperboards have the ability to behave in the same way as, and often even better than, commercial plastic films, towards the migration of mineral oil. Detailed information on the interaction between the packaging materials and mineral oil simulant, n-heptane, was acquired from gravimetric sorption. Insight was obtained into a material’s ability to function as a mineral oil barrier. It was established that the quick and easy permeation method was sufficient for evaluating packaging materials as potential mineral oil barriers, and resulted in the determination of transport parameters that were higher than that obtained by sorption. The obtained transport parameters could therefore be considered a worst case scenario when predicting the package content shelf-life.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Daar is voorheen bevind dat die teenwoordigheid van mineraalolies in droë voedsel afkomstig is van die verpakkingsmateriaal, naamlik karton, wat vervaardig is van herwonne papierprodukte, en daarna migreer die olies na die voedsel deur die gasfase. Die teenwoordigheid van hierdie mineraalolies in kos wek groot kommer aangesien dit afkomstig is van papierprodukte wat nie oorspronklik bedoel is vir voedselkontak voor die herwinningsproses nie. Die olies bestaan uit industriële graad mineraalolies wat moontlik aromatiese verbindings asook ander komponente bevat waarvan die toksiekologiese effekte onbekend is. Terwyl die betrokke owerhede tans besig is om die veilige en wettige grense van hierdie kontaminante in voedsel te oorweeg, asook die vestigting van 'n gestandaardiseerde toetsmetode vir die kontrole van mineraalolies in die voedsel-verpakkingsmateriaal-kombinasie, wil karton- en papiervervaardigers graag verseker dat hul produkte veilig is vir voedselkontak. Siende dat herwinning onvermydelik is vanuit 'n ekologiese en ekonomiese oogpunt, is een van die voorgestelde oplossings in die bedryf om te fokus op die gebruik van 'n funksionele keerfilm ten opsigte van mineraalolies, wat ‘n sakkie binne-in die karton, wat dien as die direkte kos-kontakoppervlak, of 'n keerlaag, wat direk aangewend word op die binnekant van die karton, kan behels. Hierdie studie ondersoek die daarstel en deursypelingsontwikkeling van 'n toetsmetode om die oordragtempo van 'n vlugtige organiese verbinding, wat optree as 'n mineraalolie simulant, deur middel van model papier- en plastiekverpakkingsmateriale, te evalueer. Dit stem ooreen met die oordragtempo van werklike mineraalolies deur die verpakkingsmateriaal en kan dus gebruik word as 'n hoogs versnelde instrument om verpakkingsmateriale te karakteriseer met betrekking tot hul keereienskappe. Die toetsmetode, die sogenaamde "heptaangasoordragtempo," is vervolgens gebruik om die vereiste oordragparameters af te lei wat kenmerkend is van elk van die geëvalueerde verpakkingsmateriale en wat sodoende gebruik kon word om die potensiële raklewe van die verpakte produk te bepaal. Hierdie navorsing het getoon dat kartonprodukte met ‘n keerlaag die vermoë het om dieselfde op te tree as kommersiële plastiekfilms en dikwels selfs beter, ten opsigte van die migrasie van mineraalolies. Gedetailleerde inligting oor die interaksie tussen die verpakkingsmateriale en mineraalolie simulant, n-heptaan, is verkry vanaf gravimetriese sorpsie. Dit gee insig in 'n materiaal se vermoë om te funksioneer as 'n mineraalolie-keermiddel. Daar is vasgestel dat die vinnige en maklike deurwerking metode voldoende is vir die evaluering van verpakkingsmateriale as potensiële mineraalolie-keermiddels, en verleen oordragparameters wat hoër is as dié verkry deur sorpsie. Hierdie oordragparameters kan dus as 'n ergste scenario vir die voorspelling van die raklewe van ‘n verpakte produk beskou word.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/20269
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