Food Packaging and Foodstuff Relation: Migration


Food Packaging and Foodstuff Relation: Migration


After manufacturing of food within industrialization, the food materials needed some components like appropriate packaging used, storage and transportation of these materials. One of these is the packaging of food materials, which have four functions; containment, protection, convenience, and communication. (1)


Before these, we need packaging due to sustaining food safety from production to consumption. The packaging should protect the foodstuff form external factors such as pests, odours, microorganisms, light and oxygen. (2) But this time, the packaging material would be so, also an external factor due to foodstuffs not so inert, then toxic materials, which naturally occurs at polymerization reactions during packaging processing, could pass to the packed food.


This is technically called chemical migration. There are two types of migration; overall migration and specific migration. The overall migration is referred to the sum of all (frequently not known) mobile substances of packaging released per unit area of the package under the influence of specific predetermined conditions. Whereas, specific migration is only related to a specific, known substance. (3) One of the differences between both tests is that the overall migration test is based on gravimetric methods, whereas the specific migration test is based on chromatographic methods.

During performing both migration tests, food simulants are used rather than actual foodstuffs. Cause the food matrix is excessively complicated to give accurate results from every test and every product. (4)

Simulants intended to mimic the migration from plastics into foods were introduced in the early-1980’s (Directive 82/711/EEC, as amended).

The migration is related with several parameters, such as temperature of contact, duration of contact, surface area of contact, types of components in packaging material, and more importantly, foodstuff characteristic (fatty, acidic, or aqueous). (5)

One of the affecting parameters is the temperature of contact; for instance, it can be in a way small size portion product at the microwave heater, which means consciously increasing the temperature.

In one study, they research the effect of a heating source on the migration of photoinitiators from packaging materials into Tenax® and popcorn. In this case, photoinitiators are related to packaging inks used; precisely UV cured printing inks rather than solvent-based inks. Four different types of photoinitiator inks were chosen to print labelling on three different types (paper, kraft paper, and PE) of packaging material of popcorn further a conventional and microwave heating treatment. This study found that microwave heating could accelerate the rate of migration of four photoinitiators compared to conventional heating.  They summarized affecting parameters as; photoinitiator type, packaging material type, conduction time, heating treatment way and foodstuff type. (6)(7)


After the increase of health awareness, the packaging material and their chemical migration issue are the most concerned ones even if printing inks is so critical to examine.  It would be one of the main reasons for increasing research on biodegradable packaging materials.







1.     Robertson, G. L. (2016). Food packaging: principles and practice. CRC press.

2.     Ardic, M., Kahve, H. I., & Duran, A. (2015). Chemical Migration In Food Technology.

3.     Arvanitoyannis, I. S., & Kotsanopoulos, K. V. (2014). Migration phenomenon in food packaging. Food–package interactions, mechanisms, types of migrants, testing and relative legislation—a review. Food and Bioprocess Technology, 7(1), 21-36.

4.     OMEROĞLU, P. Y., ÖZDAL, T., & BULUT, R. Chemical Migration from Plastic Types of Food Contact Materials. Eurasian Journal of Food Science and Technology, 1(1), 22-32.

5.     Bhunia, K., Sablani, S. S., Tang, J., & Rasco, B. (2013). Migration of chemical compounds from packaging polymers during microwave, conventional heat treatment, and storage. Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety, 12(5), 523-545.

6.     Ji, S., Zhang, J., Tao, G., Peng, C., Sun, Y., Hou, R., & Cai, H. (2019). Influence of heating source on the migration of photoinitiators from packaging materials into Tenax® and popcorn. Food Packaging and Shelf Life, 21, 100340.

7.     Silva, A. S., & García, R. S. (2017). Photoinitiators in printed food packaging: Migration and food safety concerns.