Food packaging and food grade ink

While controversies around food packaging inks are becoming more common, regulations seem to be struggling to evolve...

In 2011, the ANSES (The French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety) underlined the presence and danger of mineral oils (MOH) associated with certain food-grade inks. By their findings, 14 out of the 20 products tested contained aromatic hydrocarbons at concerning concentrations due to migration phenomena of ink used on food packaging.

Even though their toxicity to humans has not been proven, the agency called for producers and consumers to be vigilant awaiting official regulations surrounding the use of these substances. However, since then, no official regulation aiming to limit the use MOH based inks, adhesives and additives in food packaging has been published.

Many food distributors have nevertheless taken it upon themselves to be vigilant of these substances in  the purchasing policies, by raising awareness of these substances among suppliers and producers.

As producers of food packaging, are you looking to monitor the composition of your materials used in your industrial procedures ?

Being part of food packaging, inks are made up of pigments, solvents, binding materials or even additives. These components can cause migration phenomena between containers and their contents, impacting their compliance with health standards and regulations.

To have better control over these phenomena and to reduce the risk of toxicity, some recommendations have been suggested to optimize your production processes :


  1. Analysis of the chemical composition of inks to check their hydrocarbon content. Do they comply with the SDS provided by the supplier ? Are the quantification limits in line with the client’s scope statement ?
  2. Conducting migration testing in realistic storage conditions to study the composition of a product after a given amount of time
  3. Determination of the origins of paper and cardboard packaging and the preference of new materials. Recycled printing materials (newspapers, books, magazines) have a higher risk of containing MOH substances.
  4. Using effective protective coatings on your packaging to reduce the risk of migrations occurring

How can FILAB laboratory assist you in putting these recommendations into action…

Equipped with an analytical fleet spread over 2100m² to provide multisectoral services, FILAB laboratory is able to assist producers or distributors in inspecting and analyzing their industrial packaging.

With dual expertise in chemistry and materials science, studying migration phenomena will require the expertise of our chemistry department and our materials engineers to provide reliable analytical data with recommendations on your choice of materials from our experts.

FILAB namely provides the following services :


  • Detection and quantification of impurities in raw materials

  • Migration and stability testing

  • Analysis of pigments

  • Evaluation of surface treatment performance

If you wish to know more about our analytical services for food packaging, feel free to contact us via email at

Thank you !

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