Ever stricter product safety laws and regulations are being implemented in almost all markets in order to set new benchmarks to protect consumers all around the world. This is placing a huge burden on the whole value chain in its efforts to fulfill these regulations. As an adhesive supplier in the field of packaging, Henkel is committed to delivering products such as the Technomelt Supra Pro Range to set the bar in food safety for end-of-line packaging solutions.
Beyond developing and providing innovative products, Henkel is also eager to share its vast knowledge in this field. Only through meaningful partnerships and collaboration along the entire value chain the safety of food packaging can be truly assured. Hence, instruments such as Henkel’s Food Contact Statements or dedicated webinars on the topic are mandatory for Henkel to capitalise on this approach. Here Dr Monika Tönnießen, Henkel’s head of food safety compliance – global food safety, product safety and regulatory affairs, and Jean-Baptiste Milleret, head of technical customer service EIMEA for consumer goods adhesives, provide a deeper understanding of the relevant issues and the corresponding Henkel products.
What is the consumer’s perception when it comes to product safety in the field of packaging with food contact applications?
“Both industry and consumer attention towards packaging – especially when it comes to food contact applications – has continuously increased over the past few years. At the same time, it has to go hand in hand with other key functionalities: an awareness of sustainability, the need to prolong shelf live in order to reduce food waste, and protection of the foodstuff against external influences from all sources are the key topics here,” comments Dr Monika Tönnießen.
She continues: “Consumers are becoming increasingly conscious not only about the products they are buying, but also about their packaging and their protection. They want and need to know what they are buying and how the packaging is helping to protect the products and to maintain their safety. According to a recent study by McKinsey, public awareness of packaging waste leakage, especially plastic waste, into the environment has increased significantly to an all-time high over the past two years.”
What are the implications for brand owners and retailers?
“Many brand owners and retailers in the food industry are already focusing on achieving greater transparency and food safety in their product offerings. These processes have significant implications for the entire value chain in the food industry. Every converter has to precisely know the ingredients of their products that can be transferred into the food as well as their properties with regard to food safe packaging,” comments Dr Monika Tönnießen.
She continues: “Therefore, it is exceptionally important that we not only find new solutions and develop innovative products that become safer and safer, but also help the value chain to become more transparent through providing the necessary information. Henkel took this approach early on and has put various methods in place to foster knowledge transfer accompanying our innovative products.”
How exactly does Henkel take part in this need for safer products and more transparent information flows?
“As a global leader in adhesives for food packaging, Henkel has been working on highly effective and tailor-made solutions for many years. Food safety is a top priority for us. Our products enable us to continuously set new benchmarks in the industry and offer our customers as well as end consumers a very high level of safety. With the Technomelt Supra Pro Range, Henkel is offering a line of innovative high-performance hotmelts. These products provide food safety advantages, particularly in the case of “sensitive foods” such as rice, pasta, tea, cocoa, cornflakes, and cereals. These foods have a long shelf life and a large surface area and are therefore prone to a higher risk of contamination with mineral oil components migrating to food from the inner and outer packaging. The risk of contamination also increases when temperatures rise,” says Dr Monika Tönnießen.
She explains: “Furthermore, Henkel has expanded its Food Contact Statements for the Technomelt Supra Pro products to include additional information on qualitative and quantitative tests for mineral oil aromatic hydrocarbons (MOAH). This provides assurance to retailers and brand owners that the products comply with all mandatory legal requirements. Henkel carefully selects the raw materials used and carries out a detailed risk assessment to offer end consumers a high level of food safety. To confirm that the adhesives for food contact applications minimize risks, Henkel also has the in-house competence of triple food safety evaluation, which starts with an in-depth supplier questionnaire about the raw materials. In cases where the information provided by a supplier is not sufficient or a packaging application calls for special safety measures, Henkel has the capability to involve its scientific services: Corporate Analytics and Toxicology. Analytical assessment is performed at both levels – raw material and final product.”
What food contact applications can be covered by the product range?
“The Technomelt Supra Pro Range goes one step further in terms of technical adhesive performance. The products also enable more efficient processing. When developing the range, we made a point of optimising the properties of the various product range adhesives for each of their respective areas of use. The Technomelt Supra Pro Range includes solutions for all areas of end-of-line packaging, such as for sealing boxes and cartons as well as for attaching straws and erecting trays. The product line also includes low-temperature adhesives. The use of adhesives with a low application temperature of 100 °C, instead of the usual 160 °C to 190 °C for hotmelts, makes it possible for users to save energy and thus increase production process sustainability. Packaging with challenging surfaces, such as polyethylene or those for flour or sugar, can also be sealed,” explains Jean-Baptiste Milleret.
What advantages does the solution offer in the converting process?
Jean-Baptiste Milleret: “Among other benefits, they are composed of dust-free, free-flowing granules, facilitating automatic adhesive feeding. The Technomelt Supra Pro Range’s multipurpose adhesive also offers high line speeds without any “stringing” of the adhesive. This leads to an increase in process efficiency and performance – also, because the frequency of cleaning cycles can be reduced. Raw materials are carefully selected with detailed certifications on harmlessness for human health. The resulting optimized formulations reduce the risk-bearing substances far below legally required limits for the converters.”
“Together with the extended Food Contact Statement and the triple food safety evaluation PLUS, a unique assessment by extra quantitative and qualitative examinations of mineral oil fractions, Henkel supplies a complete package of technology, knowledge, and products that help the whole supply chain to actively create more transparent and safer solutions for the consumers.”
Having joined the magazine in 2012, Claire developed her knowledge of the industry through the numerous company visits, exhibitions and conferences she attended both in the UK and abroad.
Claire prides herself on keeping readers well informed and up to date with the latest industry news.