BOPP Mineral Oil Barrier Film Range Extension



Innovia Films has been overwhelmed by the response to its launch of Propafilm™ RCU earlier this year, its first proprietary acrylic coated BOPP film that has proven barrier to mineral oil migration for up to three years.

Amaia Cowan, Market Development Manager for Innovia Films explains “This is obviously an area of concern for many dried food manufacturers.  We are currently running trials across Europe with existing and potential customers.  Some are exciting developments.  On the back of this successful launch, our R&D team have rapidly accelerated the final stages of development work on a sister product – Propafilm™ RBCU, a white version.”

The development of these films was the result of a proactive investigation into the mineral oil hydrocarbon (MOH) and mineral oil aromatic hydrocarbon (MOAH) barrier protection of their films. 

Propafilm™ RBCU has all the qualities and benefits of RCU - excellent barrier, a low sealing threshold and a broader sealing range.  Manufacturers and packers who prefer a solid white film now have an alternative option. 

Both these films are ideal for use in a variety of markets (biscuits, bakery, confectionery, dried foods, tea and cereals). 

Cowan continued, “Propafilm™ RCU and RBCU BOPP films offer the market complimentary alternatives to our NatureFlex™ film that provides up to five years protection from mineral oils.  It means we have a product to meet a wide range of shelf life requirements.  Our new ‘bubble’ line investment work is also now complete which means we have increased capacity.  This allows us to refocus our efforts on our polypropylene range of films.  In fact we are already working on another extension to our mineral oil barrier film range – a one side coated variant, designed specifically for laminate applications. Watch this space!”

Background Information

Development work commenced after earlier studies(1) by Dr Koni Grob, from the official Food Control Authority of the Canton of Zurich, Switzerland identified that foods were being contaminated by migration of mineral oil from paper-board packaging.  Further studies by the UK Food Standards Agency(2) highlighted that safe levels were frequently exceeded in food packaging samples that were tested. 

Traces of mineral oil residues in food are thought to arise due to their migration from the printing inks present both on the packaging surface and in recycled newspapers, used in the production of cardboard packaging. Most commonly used newspaper inks contain mineral oils.  These cannot be removed sufficiently during the recycling process and are thus able to enter cardboard food packaging.  Even at room temperature these residues can migrate and be deposited on dried foods packaged in the box, such as pasta, rice, breakfast cereals and biscuits.  MOAH are suspected of being carcinogens, according to the World Health Organization’s Joint Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA), and the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).  

Innovia Films research results were published in a peer reviewed white paper : ‘Mineral Oil Barrier Testing of Cellulose-based and Polypropylene-based films’, G. O’Connor, N. Hudson and S. Buckley, Packaging Technology & Science, DOI: 10.1002 /pts. 2082, Copyright® (2014), John Wiley & Sons Ltd. Published online in Wiley Online Library.

The findings proved that their proprietary acrylic coated film provides an effective barrier to mineral oil migration.  Further analysis identified the optimum coat weight of acrylic required to maximise the barrier protection.

(1) Grob K, Fiselier K. Barriers against the Migration of Mineral Oil from Paperboard Food Packaging: Experimental Determination of Breakthrough Periods.  Packaging Technology and Science. DOI: 10.1002/pts.982

(2) Food Survey Information Sheet, Survey 4: Migration of Selected Ink Components from Printed    Packaging materials into Foodstuffs and Screening of Printed packaging for the Presence of Mineral Oils. : (Number 03/11 December 2011) by the Food Standards Agency.