Nowadays there is a lot of demand and use of nanomaterials in the food industry. They are in use for the food packaging purposes. This is mainly due to the advanced features they bring to the packaging materials.

The Nanotechnology food packaging is divided into three main classifications. Here is a detailed information about these three categories.

  1. Packaging Enhancement: The quality of packaging improves as the nanomaterials are combined with the polymer matrix to develop the properties of the gas barrier.
  2. Active Packaging: Active packaging is demonstrated by the benefits of the nanomaterials to connect with the food or the environment. This process is to allow better protection to the product. As an example, the silver nanoparticles and the silver coatings offer the anti-microbe characteristics. The other materials that are in use are the UV scavengers or Oxygen.nanoparticles packaging
  3. Clever Packaging: The design of the Smart or Intelligent packaging layout is for detecting the microbial or microchemical changes that take place in the food. Like, sensing any certain pathogens that develop in the food or even the smoke or gas from the spoilers of the food. The development of such intelligent packaging methods takes place mainly to use them as a  recording device. The development of this tracking process is to protect the food from getting any damage.

Ensuring Consumer Privacy

In terms of ensuring customer privacy, it is essential to measure the potential movement of packaging components into food. Also, it is necessary to access the possible risks for comprehensively assessing the threats.

Although, until today there have been no reports that are published based on the effects of nanomaterials after the ingestion. Furthermore, no study has been published to indicate the mixture of nanomaterial food contact products with the components of the food.

In Europe, there is a regulation which applies to an overall migration limit of 10 milligram constituent of the surface area. This legislation currently applies to the objects which shift from the FCMs to foodstuffs.

In terms of a 1 cubic liter packaging that contains 1Kg of food. It is equivalent to a migration of about 60 mg of material per kilogram of food. Also, in spite of the omission of a few substances from the Annex 1 list of the act. After the assessments of the nanomaterial, the execution takes place on a case-by-case basis.

Further Studies on The Potential of Migration

In 2013, the Echegoyen did a research on the migration of silver. This study was based on three types of nanocomposites on the food counterfeit.  Moreover, the study includes the analysis of the different forms of the silver migration. The results show that the acidic food shows the highest form of migration level. Along with this, the results also display that the silver migrates into the food simulants.

Furthermore, the result displays that there is a rise in migration due to additional heating. The usual oven does not induce as much migration as a Microwave does. The writers reveal that there are two reasons why the migration may occur. First is the separation of nanoparticles from the composites. The second reason is due to the dissolution of the silver ions.

Back in the year 2013, Cushen conducted a research upon the migration of silver and copper from the nanocomposite. This migration process helps in the anti-microbial properties during the packaging of the food. The writes reveal that some fraction nanofiller in the nanocomposites is one of the most major factors behind the migration process.

Introduction of a New Model to Study Migration

The author began a model which studies the migration of the particles during food packaging. This is a helpful model as it predicts the level of the nanosilver and nano copper in the food components. As this model continues to evolve, even more, it will further add more advantages to the food industry. It reduces the time as well as the cost which is usually related to the studies of migration.

Recently, the assessment of a migration of a clay acid nanocomposite took place. An experiment suggests that less than 10 mg per dm2 of nanocomposite drifted to the water. The further examination of the food displays the metals were below the required value.

Additionally, the writers predict that the probable toxicity of migration extracts are available in vitro as well as in vivo. Upon the further assessment, the cytotoxic of the migration is withdraws in vitro. It does not disclose any proof of in vitro toxicity as compared to the control.

Moreover, the experiments on the rats for a period of 90 days did not show any toxicity level. The experiment on the rats went through the same migration extracts for 3 months in the drinking water and there was no evidence of any toxic in terms of inflammation.


Future of Nanotechnology Food Packaging

All these studies regarding the Nanomaterials migration from the FCM’s into the food particles. The studies further indicate the rise of the migration related to the proportion of the nanofillers in the composite materials.

Although there is still a lot of room for further developments in the Nanotechnology food packaging sector, the signs are that we are moving towards a future which will offer safe packaging methods. There is a constant need for new migration and toxicological studies to ensure proper and secure developments in the food packaging industry.

William L. Walker

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