What is Migration? What is the Migration Test?

The transfer of chemicals from food contact materials to food is called migration. The passing substances are called migrants. Migration test; It is a test performed in food production facilities to determine whether chemical substances are transferred from food packaging and production equipment to food. 

If chemicals pass into food from food packaging material or through production equipment, undesirable consequences relating to food safety and quality may occur. For this reason, it is necessary to prevent a reaction between food contact materials and food. Food packaging and production equipment should basically be produced in a structure that prevents migration.

Chemical substances must not get into the food, including all contact areas with food. Therefore, migration tests should be carried out by the conditions determined by the ministry.

Migration Test Validity Period

The migration test is performed as a general and special migration test on food packaging, kitchenware, and food processing machines that come into contact with food. There is no limitation regarding the validity period of the migration test for packaged foods. While it should be done at certain intervals for organic foods, it is sufficient to do it once for a packaged product. 

If you want to get detailed information about the migration test and its duration, you can examine in detail the Communiqué on Basic Rules for Migration Test of Foodstuffs and Components of Plastic Materials and Materials in Contact with Foodstuffs published in the Official Newspaper by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.

Migration Test Analysis Report

In food production areas, migration tests are carried out on all areas that may come into contact with food such as packaging, kitchen utensils that may come into contact with food, and food processing machines. This test is a mandatory test for food packaging producing facilities. The laboratories performing the test apply different tests for aqueous, alcoholic, fatty, and acidic foodstuffs. There are also other test processes for plastic, ceramic, or metal packaging materials.

After the sample is taken, a migration analysis report is given as a result of the evaluation made in the laboratory environment. If substances that can come into contact with food are determined, the production phase cannot be carried out. Therefore, the enterprise requests a new test by taking the necessary measures.

Two different migration tests have been accepted for plastic materials by the European Union. One of these tests is general migration and the other is specific migration.

Specific Migration

Within the scope of the specific migration test, it is applied to substances that are independent of the special transition limit. The toxicological studies performed constitute the content of the test. It is applied using analytical techniques to identify whether the relevant substances pass on the food. In the migration application, it is checked whether one or more substances that have an element in the packaging material pass into the food.

During the test, food simulations are assigned to perform migration simulations to check if the migration limits are appropriate. A comparative evaluation is made to determine transition boundaries. To obtain accurate results, there are processes such as testing time, temperature, and preparing a test area that will represent the worst possible environmental conditions of plastic materials or articles. Testing is performed by creating standard test conditions in a suitable environment that includes all these processes.

What is Migration?

Migration is the passage of chemicals into food through substances that come into contact with food. Foods exposed to migration should be determined before they reach the consumer. Therefore, it is determined whether chemical substances pass to the food, especially on the production area or on the packaging.

Migration also refers to the chemical mass transfer to food through food packaging in specific use and storage conditions. When the material passes from packaging to food, loss of taste and aroma may occur. Also, serious health problems can arise.

Factors Affecting Migration

Chemical migration may occur during the production, distribution, sale, and consumption of food. Necessary precautions must be taken by businesses at every stage. 

Factors affecting migration;

  • Contact time (1 hour, 1 day, 1 year…)
  • Feature of foodstuffs (fatty, acidic, dry)
  • Contact surface area (1 dm2, 1 lt, 1 gallon)
  • Content, amount of packaging material (plastic, silicone, the additive in plastic, plasticizer)
  • Contact temperature (such as refrigerator, room temperature, sterilization, cooking temperature)

Factors affecting migration in packaging materials;

  • The content of the foodstuff directly affects the solubility of the chemicals in the packaging material.
  • A chemical substance in the package interacts with the food substance and reacts under certain temperature conditions. If the packaging materials are stored under appropriate temperatures and conditions, there is no risk of migration.
  • Along with the packaging material, the contact areas of the food also affect migration.
  • The contact time of the packaging materials and the foodstuff is also important in migration.
  • The permeability properties of the packaging materials are different from each other. Permeability rate is effective in migration probability. These determinations can be made with the migration test.

In the field of food contact materials, migration limits have been established for many substances based on the toxicological risk assessment of the substances. These limits are determined by the “Regulation on Substances and Materials in Contact with Food” to control exposure to these substances to protect our health.

Hygienic skirting and border products that we produce as Vibroser have antimicrobial properties. It is certified that hygienic skirtings and kerbs do not pass chemicals to food, even in contact with food. These documents have been issued by independent accredited laboratories.

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