To offer a drop-in solution to overcome the PA66 shortage, we developed an alternative material: The Akulon® IG series is a portfolio of material grades made by combining the strength of PA6 and PA46 – two materials that are fully independent of the Adiponitrile/hexamethyldiamine supply.
Meeting food contact safety standards in the kitchen
Driven by regulations, food contact standards differ from country to country, but all regulations focus on safe for use.
In the past 10 years, the food contact industry has become more global – products such as spoons, spatulas, tongs, etc., are developed in a specific region, but then manufactured elsewhere—but across the board, safe for use is the priority.
There has been discussion on the imposed level of 90 µg/person/day as exposure limit for polyamide 66 cyclic oligomers (cPAO) since the introduction of Commission Regulation (EU) No 10/2011. Data from 2016/2017 showed that the amounts of cPAO migrating from kitchen utensils into food is far above 90 µg/person/day. National enforcement bodies have warned producers about PA66 food contact components and not complying to this—there could be potential product recalls unless the data shows a higher exposure is safe.
Recently, based on a new toxicological risk assessment, the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) recommended for PA66 a specific surface migration limit of 5 mg cPAO/person/day. In the same report, they confirm that still 30% of the PA66 based utensils are not considered safe and they recommend to limit the exposure time above 70°C. As a consequence, kitchen utensils manufacturers have to change material in case they would like to comply to this opinion of the BfR.
As one can imagine, this has stirred up the European food contact market. Brands are liable for determining food contact compliance and they need to stay up to date on the changing regional regulations and interpretations. Several kitchen utensils brands have already started to replace PA66 in Europe and even globally. This in itself is already a lot of work and changing material requires a diverse expert team. Even worse, when a different material class needs to be used, this requires new tooling and/or even changes in design.
Because of the market’s globalization, manufacturers can benefit by working with DSM’s global experts teams, which understand the regulations in the different regions and have relevant application and material expertise.
Kitchen utensil applications are technical in nature, calling for good aesthetics, unique properties or different shading elements—you want your brand to stand out and be unique in the market place. DSM offers a broad portfolio of alternative material solutions that can do just that by replacing PA66 in the same tooling and meet the cyclic oligomer exposure according to the BfR assessment.
We offer EcoPaXX PA410 and Stanyl PA46 food contact grades commercially proven in kitchen utensils, which have very similar performance profile and feel. As additional value for the consumer, EcoPaXX is a partially bio-based material and Stanyl has a higher peak use temperature and remains stiffer at the cooking temperatures.
Download our whitepaper about food contact safety applications
Watch the video about food contact applications and why they require innovative, advanced materials
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