Doesn’t packaging material interfere with your dream product to ensure it is safely exported to other countries? So, take heed to your brand products leaching testing of packaging materials before the marketing chain.

Some packing materials can interact with the foodstuff they contain, potentially resulting in the leaching of specific compounds. This is especially concerning for food and beverage packaging, as chemicals from the packaging might leach into the food or beverage.

Manufacturers are often aware of these dangers and take steps to mitigate them. They frequently employ packaging materials that are specifically formulated to be safe for the intended product. Regulatory authorities also develop standards and recommendations for packaging materials to assure their safety for consumer usage.

However, it is always a good idea to be aware of the many forms of packaging used for items, especially if you have specific concerns about certain chemicals or materials. Choosing items with packaging that explicitly declares they are free of toxic chemicals, or moving to alternative packaging alternatives such as glass or stainless steel containers, can help to decrease potential exposure to harmful compounds.

Food Safety Packaging Material

Analysis of migration of food contact materials in your food packaging.

Migration of food contact materials (FCMs) is the transfer of substances from packaging materials into the food they come into contact with. This migration can be caused by a variety of reasons, including temperature, time, and the qualities of the container and food. FCM migration studies normally include evaluating the packaging material and the food for the presence of specified compounds in order to identify whether or not migration was place.

selection of packaging materials

The process for the migration of food contact materials is shown below:

Selection of Packaging Materials:

Researchers choose the packaging materials to study. These could be plastics, paper, metals, or coatings used in food packaging.

Evaluation of Migration Kinetics:

Researchers may also look into the kinetics of migration, such as diffusion rates and the effects of temperature and time on migration behaviour.

Migration Testing:

The packing material comes into touch with a food simulant, which duplicates the properties of the actual food (for example, fatty meals and acidic foods). To imitate real-world events, the interaction might take place under-regulated parameters, such as specific temperatures and durations. The moving molecules are then identified and measured using analytical techniques like chromatography (gas and liquid chromatography) and spectroscopy (mass spectrometry) and by gravimetrically. (IS 9845)

Sample Preparation:

Packaging samples are produced for testing. This may include cutting or grinding the material to increase its surface area for extraction, and depending on the nature of the compounds to be analysed, several extraction techniques may be used.

What is a type of Migration of Food?

male worker checking products juice factory
Diffusion: This is the most prevalent sort of migration, which occurs when molecules of a chemical in the packaging material pass through it and into food. Diffusion is affected by temperature, concentration gradients, and the qualities of both the packaging material and the food.

Partitioning: Partitioning migration occurs when compounds in packing material dissolve into food due to their solubility in the food matrix. This form of migration is commonly observed when lipophilic (fat-loving) compounds migrate into fatty foods.

Permeation: Permeation happens when compounds pass through the packing material via molecular pores or flaws. This form of migration occurs more frequently in porous packaging materials such as paper and cardboard.
Set-off or Transfer: Set-off migration occurs when contaminants from one surface of the packaging material contaminate the food or another surface within the packaging. Physical contact, as well as pressure, temperature, or moisture, can all cause this.

Migration from Printing Inks or Labels: Inks and labels used on packaging can also migrate into food, particularly if they come into close contact with the food or are not properly cured or affixed to the packing material.

How to reduce the migration of food contact materials?

food supplies as donation coronavirus quarantine concept
Minimizing the migration of food contact materials (FCMs) is crucial for ensuring the safety of packaged foods. In this article, we discussed some strategies to minimize migration as follows:
Select Safe Packaging Materials: Choose food-safe packaging materials. Glass, stainless steel, and food-safe plastics are all less likely to migrate.
Monitor and Test: Regularly monitor and test packing materials for substance migration into food under a variety of scenarios. Conduct migration studies using relevant analytical methods to guarantee adherence to regulatory limitations and norms.
Barrier Layers: Use packaging materials with barrier layers or coatings to prevent chemicals from migrating from the packaging to the food. These barrier layers can limit migration by either forming a physical barrier or stopping molecules from diffusing through the packing material.
Comply with Regulations: Follow regulatory requirements and recommendations for FCMs. Different countries have standards governing the permitted quantities of migratory compounds in food contact products. To reduce migration hazards, ensure that packaging materials meet these criteria.
Use Food-Grade Additives: If packing materials require additives (such as antioxidants or stabilisers), use only those that have been approved for food contact and meet regulatory criteria. Avoid using additives that are known to leach into food.
Optimize Processing Conditions: Control processing variables such as temperature, pressure, and curing time during manufacture to reduce the possibility of migration. For example, proper curing of printing inks and coatings can limit the possibility of ink migration.
Avoid Contamination: Prevent contamination of packing materials with chemicals that may migrate into food. This includes avoiding contact with cleaning products, glue, and other chemicals that could include migratory compounds.
Use Functional Barriers: To avoid migration, use functional barriers such as liners or intermediary layers between the package and the food. These barriers might give an extra layer of protection against migration.
Educate Suppliers and Employees: Ensure that packaging material providers understand the criteria for food contact materials, and teach staff who handle and prepare packaging materials to reduce the risk of contamination.

What are the limitations and laws regarding the migration testing of food contact materials?


Food safety regulations
European Union (EU): The EU has special restrictions for materials and objects that come into contact with food. Regulation (EC) No 1935/2004 defines the general safety requirements for FCMs. Regulation (EU) No 10/2011 establishes migration limitations for certain compounds, including metals, monomers, and additives used in FCMs. These limits vary according to the type of food and the substance.

United States: The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act governs the regulation of food contact materials by the United States Food and Drug Administration. The FDA specifies migration limits and requirements for compounds used in FCMs through the Food Contact Notification (FCN) programme and Title 21 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR).

India: The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) implemented new packaging requirements to improve food safety. The regulations cover both basic and specialised criteria for packing materials. The recommended migration limit for plastic packing materials is 60 mg/kg (or 10 mg/dm2), with additional restrictions for certain pollutants. The goal is to safeguard food from microbiological, chemical, physical, and atmospheric contamination while assuring customer safety. Good packaging also protects food quality and increases shelf life. These regulations went into effect on July 1, 2019.

Cultivator Phyto Lab can assist your products for migration testing as per required by national and international regulations.

packaging material food safety testing
Cultivator Phyto Lab provides full help to ensure that your goods meet national and international standards for migration testing of food contact materials. We help your goods meet regulatory requirements by leveraging cutting-edge expertise and rigorous testing procedures. Our specialised solutions include analysis, assessment, and optimisation tactics to ensure conformance to regulatory frameworks established by the FDA, EU, and Codex Alimentarius. With Cultivator Phyto Lab, you can confidently traverse complex regulatory landscapes, protect consumer health, and build trust in your brand’s dedication to quality and safety, paving the way for successful market entry and long-term growth.


Dr. Sanjoy Gupta (Ph.D)

Dr. Sanjoy Gupta (Ph.D)

Senior Officer- Training and Capacity Building

Dr. Sanjoy Gupta is a seasoned researcher with 13 years of experience across plant biotechnology, health science, nutrition, phytoplankton, and botanical studies. He has conducted research at reputed institutions like CSIR IIP, BSI, NIOT, and Cultivator Natural Products. With over a dozen published articles in national/international journals and thoughtful blog contributions, Dr. Gupta’s multidisciplinary expertise advances knowledge in holistic wellness and scientific innovation.

Sajid Hussain

Sajid Hussain

Deputy Technical Manager (Food/Water/AYUSH/Cosmetic - Testing)

Sajid Hussain is a versatile analytical science expert with M.Sc. degrees in Food & Nutrition, Chemistry, and relevant diplomas. Boasting over 10 years of experience across diverse domains like food testing, pharmaceuticals, environmental studies, and more. A seasoned auditor for NABL, FSSAI, BIS, and ISO accreditations. Holds FSSAI Food Analytical certification and AYUSH approved chemist credential. Contributes research articles and blogs, showcasing technical proficiency. A distinguished figure in analytical science with a proven track record.

Reference :

  1. Alamri MS, Qasem AAA, Mohamed AA, Hussain S, Ibraheem MA, Shamlan G, Alqah HA, Qasha AS. Food packaging’s materials: A food safety perspective. Saudi J Biol Sci. 2021 Aug;28(8):4490-4499. doi: 10.1016/j.sjbs.2021.04.047. Epub 2021 Apr 24. PMID: 34354435; PMCID: PMC8325021.
  2. Catherine, S. (2008). Chapter 21 Food contact materials. In Comprehensive analytical chemistry (pp. 733–773).
  3. Cruz, R. M., Rico, B. P., & Vieira, M. C. (2019). Food packaging and migration. In Elsevier eBooks (pp. 281–301).