Press enter to begin your search
 
Scientific Areas

Packaging

The activity, in the Parma and Angri seats, focuses on the materials for rigid and flexible packaging and on the closing systems from a technological, analytical and hygienic-sanitary point of view.
The activity is developed in collaboration with the producers of materials, packaging manufacturers and end users with the main purpose of providing scientific, analytical, technical and regulatory tools to create safe packaging that guarantees the quality and the hygienic-sanitary properties of the food product for its entire commercial life.

The research activity, carried out also in collaboration with research centres and universities at an international level, concerns the development and the application of innovative materials and coatings, of natural origin, the shelf life improvement of new packaging/food systems also as a function of process and storage conditions and emerging issues related to the health safety of contact materials and to environmental impact.

The consulting activity in the laboratory or directly in the company concerns technological issues in the use of packaging, such as the compliance with legal requirements and purchase specifications.

TEAM

Coordinator: Chiara Zurlini

Bovis Nella

Food compliance, flexible packaging quality, shelf-life evaluation
0521 795279
nella.bovis@ssica.it

Calzetti Laura

Food compliance – metal packaging and closure systems quality
0521 795272
laura.calzetti@ssica.it

Cannavacciuolo Mariarosaria

Metal, flexible packaging and closure systems quality; mechanical properties of materials and packaging
081 5133718
mariarosaria.cannavacciuolo@ssica.it

Chierici Serena

Development of biomaterials – scanning electron microscope (SEM) analyses
0521 795216
serena.chierici@ssica.it

Cigognini Ilaria Maria

Analytical service and support to institutional activity
0521 795216
ilaria.cigognini@ssica.it

Gelati Stefania

Metal packaging and closure systems quality; mechanical and surface properties of materials
0521 795255
stefania.gelati@ssica.it

Pezzani Aldo

Metal, flexible packaging and closure systems quality; evaluation of materials and packaging by electrochemical techniques
081 5133718
aldo.pezzani@ssica.it

Squitieri Giuseppe

Metal, flexible packaging and closure systems quality; mechanical properties of materials and packaging
081 5133718
giuseppe.squitieri@ssica.it

Areas of activity

Materials

Packages

Packs

Consulting activity

Service activity

Health suitability

Materials

Production technology and physico-chemical, mechanical and hygienic-sanitary properties of metal, plastic and composite materials

Study and evaluation of the physico-chemical properties: mechanical, surface, electrochemical, permeability

Study and evaluation of the hygienic-sanitary properties: global and specific migration

Study and evaluation of the technological suitability of new materials or innovative uses

Development of new materials: biopolymers, active, nanomaterials, of natural origin.

From the analytical point of view, it is possible to characterize the different packaging materials. As far as metal materials are concerned, it is possible to determine composition, structure, morphology, adherence and chemical resistance of inorganic (tin and chromium) and organic (lacquer) coatings.

Accelerated corrosion tests of metal materials, raw and/or lacquered, provide a good system to predict what will happen over time due to contact with certain foods.

With regard to plastic materials, it is important to know composition, structure, chemical, physical-mechanical and thermal behaviour, as well as permeability to permanent gases and water vapour.

Based on the aforementioned properties, the type of product to be packaged and the type of packaging/conditioning technology to be adopted, it is possible to make a careful choice of the material to be used in the packaging.

Packages

Technology and manufacturing properties according to the use operating conditions of metal, plastic and glass packaging

Study and evaluation of the mechanical properties also in relation to logistics

Study and evaluation of the closing system profiles

Study and evaluation of the surface properties

Study and evaluation of the electrochemical properties

Study and evaluation of the permeability properties

Study and evaluation of the tightness properties

Study and evaluation of the hygienic-sanitary properties

Study and evaluation of the technological suitability in relation to the process also through tests on plants

Assistance in the development, on industrial lines, of the closing systems, critical points.

Packs

Packaging and preservation technology: environment-packaging-food interactions

Study and evaluation of shelf-life

Study and evaluation of safety

Study and evaluation of causes of spoilage or early failures

Storage and transport: Influence of logistics parameters on the behaviour of materials and packages.

Each food, based on its physico-chemical and microbiological stability properties, requires a certain type of packaging able to preserve it for a suitable time. Depending on the food considered, it is therefore very important to evaluate the mechanical properties, the tightness and the technological suitability properties of the packaging to avoid problems that could affect the health of the consumer (microbial recontamination, migration of substances from the food packing materials to food) or economic problems (packaging failure due to chemical corrosion or mechanical failure).

Metal and plastic packages in fact, have a series of advantages and disadvantages that must be evaluated each time according to the food taken into consideration. In the case of the placing on the market of a new type of packaging, a whole series of evaluations must be carried out, ranging from suitability to food contact (overall and specific migration tests) to the evaluation of the shelf-life of the product through the execution of pack-tests and/or biotests; also transport simulation through the use of a vibration table can be useful to evaluate the mechanical resistance of the container during transport.

Consulting activity

Technical consultancy interventions mainly concern the identification of the causes of spoilage, internal and external corrosion, deformations of mechanical and physical origin in both rigid (steel and glass) and flexible (bottles, trays and pouches) packs, closing problems of the containers (twist-off capsule screwing, tinplate can seaming).

In all cases the problem is dealt with by following all aspects: analytical, technological and plant engineering. An example is the search for causes of spoilage in aseptically filled products in tanks or sterile bags. In these cases, the consulting work includes: on-site sampling of the headspace gases, of the product contained in the swollen packages and of the emptied container. Subsequently, if the results of the microbiological tests and/or the tests on the containers show any responsibility by the aseptic system, further investigations are agreed for the identification of the malfunctioning/damaged plant area (cooling tube bundles, recirculation valves, seals, tightness, tank and aseptic system sanitization procedures, filling head, etc.)

Non-food

In addition to classic food packages, containers are tested for aerosol products (food, pharmaceutical, cosmetic and technical), general line (food, technical and chemical) and parts of plants: even in these cases, the compliance with the specifications declared by the manufacturer can be verified and the causes of non-compliance be assessed.

As regards aerosol and general line packages, one of the fundamental properties to be evaluated is the aggressiveness resistance of the products. Studies on new formulations can also be carried out. As to plants, the studies relating the corrosion of metal parts are of pivotal importance.

Service activity

The following main areas of work can be identified:

Characterization of materials and packaging; compliance with purchase specifications

Evaluation of food compliance

Selection of materials and packaging according to the type of use

Corrosion and microbiological spoilage problems. Health suitability

Global migration assessment

Specific migration evaluation and SET OFF

MCA regulatory support. Materials Properties

Evaluation of the composition of inorganic (tin and chromium) and organic (lacquers) coatings

Evaluation of the structure of inorganic (tin and chromium) and organic (lacquers) coatings

Evaluation of the morphology of inorganic (tin and chromium) and organic (lacquers) coatings

Evaluation of adherence and chemical resistance of inorganic (tin and chromium) and organic (lacquers) coatings

Evaluation of the composition, structure, permeability and morphology of single, multilayer and laminated films

Compliance with purchase specifications

Corrosion resistance of raw and lacquered metal materials used in the manufacture of packages and structural materials

Thermal and chemical resistance of plastic materials

Selection of materials and packages in relation to the type of use (E)

Corrosion and microbiological spoilage problems (E, C)

Determination of the composition of the headspace of rigid and flexible packages

Evaluation of the tightness of the packages and related parameters: seaming, welding, closing (E, C)

Mechanical resistance and dimensional parameters

Technological suitability of packaging

Shelf-life assessments (E, C)

Consulting activity

Assistance in the development of industrial systems for closing systems, critical points (E)

Examination of filling, closing and storage conditions

Selection of materials and packages according to the type of use

Identification of foreign bodies (E)

Vibration tests for assessing the behaviour of packages during transport.

Health suitability

For packaging companies, and their users, an analysis service is offered for the hygiene and health control of the packaging. The suitability of food containers is subject to passing general migration tests and, where applicable, specific migration tests, which must be carried out before the products are marketed.

These tests are codified, at Community level (by different regulations and directives, lastly Regulation (EU) n.10/2011 of 14 January 2011, regarding plastic materials) or at national level for other types of packaging materials, by specific regulations (for Italy the Ministerial Decree 21 March 1973 and subsequent updates and Community Regulations 1935/2005 and 2023/2006) that impose very specific limits for global migration, that is to say for everything that can migrate from a package to the product contained, regardless of the type of compound migrated.

For some substances that can migrate from the container and are considered potentially dangerous for the consumer’s health, the legislation imposes very restrictive limits, different and specific for each of them. For example, there are specific migration limits for Bisphenol A, Badge and derivatives, which can migrate from epoxy-based lacquers, as well as for plasticizers, such as polyadipates or some types of adipates, and for other substances used in the formulation of capsule gaskets closing glass jars.

All the above is not only valid for packaging but also for materials and for all objects intended to come into contact with food products. Therefore, tools (both domestic and industrial), specimens obtained from conveyor belts, transfer tubes, parts of machinery, etc. can also be analysed.

To test a material that will be part of a packaging or plant, the tests can be performed on suitably prepared specimens. The same is applied to materials for which contact with food is expected. Tests similar to those carried out on packages are also carried out on stainless steel objects, rubbers and glass.

Suitability analyses are also conducted for contact with water intended for human consumption (DM of 6 April 2994, No. 174), or with medicinal products, galenic preparations and medical-surgical aids for human use (Circular of Health Ministry of 28 December 1977, No. 84) and of compliance of ceramic objects (DM 4/4/85 and 1/02/07).

At the end of the tests a certificate is issued that certifies the compliance of the sample from the point of view of overall and specific migration under the conditions used for the tests.

Furthermore, a massive regulatory support is made available to the user with regard to contact materials, a support which, going well beyond the analytical service, is a real internal consultancy, although not economically quantified.

FAQ

Why does a black ring form in the can headspace area...

Why does a black ring form in the can headspace area on the raw body inner surface?

 

The defect, commonly referred to as “waterline corrosion”, also known as “differential aeration corrosion”, is recognizable by the formation of a corrosion ring along the limit of the headspace of the body of the raw tinplate cans. Destagnation is due to concentration of stack gases, and precisely to the different amount of oxygen present in the headspace and dissolved in the covering brine. The extent of the defect is therefore proportional to the amount of oxygen left in the cans after packaging.

Can tinplate cans cause lead migration into food?

The reference in the Ministerial Decree 18/02/1984 concerning the specific lead migration limit (Annex 3C) appears to be not entirely up-to-date since the can manufacturing technologies, and in particular the consolidated and generalized transition from tin-lead to electric soldering has completely removed the use of this metal in the three pieces’ tinplate production process.

Do the sulphurations present on the inner surface have...

Do the sulphurations present on the inner surface have hygienic-sanitary relevance?

 

The tin sulphide of the sulphur staining forms a thin superficial layer of a color varying from yellow to brown. The color of the iron of the sulphurations is instead blackish, spongy and incoherent, with a tendency to expand largely outside the point of origin. Sulphur staining has no relevance under the toxicological aspect: it is mainly an aesthetic problem. It is also important to remember that tin and iron sulphides are not soluble in oil and therefore, in practice, they do not migrate to the food (M.D. 18 February 1984).

What is the volume of the headspace needed in a bottle or...

What is the volume of the headspace needed in a bottle or glass jar to get a good degree of vacuum?

 

In general, headspace should be at least 7% of the total volume of the glass container. In the case of filling at about 85°C, the headspace can be reduced, but it must never be less than 5% of the total volume of the container.

How are FMC regulations organized?

There are general provisions applicable to all FMC and specific provisions applicable only to certain materials. For some materials/sectors there are harmonized provisions at European level, others are regulated only at national level.

What are the reference authorities?

The competent authorities are the Ministry of Health, the regions, the autonomous provinces of Trento and Bolzano and Aziende unità sanitarie locali, within their respective competences (Legislative Decree 6 November 2007, n.193).

Must all FMC comply with Regulation 1935/2004/EC?

Yes, Regulation (EC) 1935/2004 is a Framework Regulation that governs all FMCs; it is a community regulation, therefore directly applicable in all member states.

What are the general principles which the FMC must comply...

What are the general principles which the FMC must comply with and where are they reported?

Article. 3 of Reg. (EC) 1935/2004 establishes that all materials and objects must be produced in accordance with good manufacturing practices and, under normal or foreseeable conditions of use, must not migrate to food components in quantities such as to: constitute a danger to human health, lead to an unacceptable change in the composition of food products, lead to a deterioration of sensory properties.

Does Reg. 1935 also provide specific measures for materials?

Yes, Annex I lists the 17 materials for which specific rules are provided. Currently specific regulations have been issued only for active and intelligent packaging (Reg.450/2009), plastic materials (Reg.10/2011), mechanical recycling of plastics (Reg. 282/2008), import of melamine objects and polyamide (Reg. 284/2011) and some directives on ceramics and regenerated cellulose.

What is the GMP Regulation?

The GMP Regulation is the Regulation (EC) 2023/2006 on Good Manufacturing Practices of materials and objects in contact with food.

Does the symbol or wording ``for foodstuffs`` always have to be...

Does the symbol or wording “for foodstuffs” always have to be present on the materials and objects in the marketing phases other than the sale to the final consumer?

 

No, according to art. 15 of Regulation (EC) 1935/2004 in the marketing phases other than the sale to the final consumer, the symbol, the wording “for food” or the other specific indications on use (eg coffee machine) may be present on the documents of transport.

Does the symbol or wording ``for food`` always have to be present...

Does the symbol or wording “for food” always have to be present on the materials and objects in contact with food destined for the final consumer?

 

No, according to art. 15 of Regulation (EC) 1935/2004 it can be omitted if the use is “unequivocal”

What is the specific national decree of reference for materials...

What is the specific national decree of reference for materials such as steel, glass, rubber, paper and cardboard?

 

In Italy the Ministerial Decree 21 March 1973 is in force and has been modified several times over the years to comply with the numerous directives issued by the European Union.

What are the reference decrees for materials such as lacquered...

What are the reference decrees for materials such as lacquered tinplate, tin-free steel?

 

For lacquered tinplate Ministerial Decree 18/2/84 and subsequent updates is in force; for lacquered tin-free steel M.D. 01/06/1988 is in force.

Does the overall migration limit apply to all materials and objects?

No, only to those expressly regulated. For materials that are not specifically regulated at European or national level, the legal limit does not apply, but the general provisions of Regulation (EC) 1935/2004, article 3 do.

ENVIRONMENT

Discover the activities e services offered by the Environment section.

Read more

Scientific areas

Find more about SSICA scientific areas. Click to read more about each area, including Head and Coordinators, the main activities and our focus on research and developement.

MEAT PRODUCTS

Read more

SEA AND FISH PRODUCTS

Read more

VEGETABLE PRODUCTS AND TOMATO AREA

Read more

QUALITY, SAFETY AND PRE-INDUSTRIALIZATION

Read more

MARKETING, CONSUMER SCIENCE AND RELATIONS WITH COMPANIES

Read more

NEWS/EVENTS

News

ALL NEWS