Progress towards lower migration inks


CHESAPEAKE Bristol, part of Chesapeake’s Branded Packaging division, claims to be the first self-adhesive label manufacturer in the UK to introduce an ultra-low migration (ULM) ink system as standard for all its customers.

The move to ULM-only ink is a significant one, says the company, as it follows extensive trials and rigorous testing procedures. The Bristol operation is Chesapeake’s lead label site in the UK for food labelling and this initiative offers customers further reassurance that they are using one of the latest and safest inks available.
Andy Walter, Bristol’s managing director, said: “We were previously using low-migration inks but we wanted to fully move to an ultra-low migration ink system as soon as we had completed and validated the test results. As part of this process, we’ve changed our ink stocks, conducted trials and completed profiling tests. We supply labels to some of the UK’s best-known brands and we always strive to offer our customers the latest print finishes and effects. For us, this move to an improved lower migration ink system was an easy decision.”
The migration into food products of some chemicals from certain types of packaging ink was first highlighted several years ago. As a result, there have been a number of major changes to ink formulations as well as to the type of packaging substrates specified for certain food products. Chesapeake’s Group Packaging & Safety Compliance Officer, Elaine Murray, said: “The inks have been independently tested on paper and filmic substrates and only minute trace levels of migrating photoinitiators were found. These have a higher propensity to migrate through primary packaging into some food types. A number of products known to be sensitive such as high-fat content foods are typical of the goods which use self-adhesive labels. Testing had been conducted in accordance with the guidelines set out in the BPIF Labels GMP. These have been specifically developed for the printing of labels and related packaging for the food and drinks markets. The adoption of this new ink ULM system provides an extra layer of security for our customers.”
The new inks were initially tested at ISEGA by the supplier and were then independently tested by Chesapeake using another specialist business. These additional tests covered a broader range of potential migrating components to provide greater assurance.
Overall, this initiative complements a similar move by Chesapeake’s carton production sites that are focused on food packaging and have adopted the manufacturing guidelines issued by the European Carton Makers Association (ECMA). Following the full implementation of the ECMA GMP at Chesapeake’s German operations in 2011, sites in the UK and Poland that supply food-related packaging announced compliance with the same directive in September this year.