In the COBICO LABORATORY, metal as well plastics packagings and packaging materials are tested, i.e.:
- Food cans,
- Beverage cans,
- Crown corks (caps),
- Twist-offs (twists-off for jars),
- Easy open ends,
- Sheet metals for packagings and metal closures,
- Lacquers for packagings and metal closures,
- Sealing compounds,
- Granules for seals of crown corks,
- Caps for PET bottles,
- Plastics packagings,
- Aerosol containers,
Currently, about 98% of all types of products offered on the market require a packing. For materials and articles intended for contact with food, so the packagings and packaging materials, applies the law for producers to obey the legislation in this area. This means, that packaging manufacturers, as well as food manufacturers must have the test results necessary to demonstrate compliance of the materials and articles intended for contact with food with the applicable regulations. These requirements are determined, between others, by the EC Regulation (EU legislation), National Regulations and Directives as well as international standards, eg.:
"Materials and articles, including active and intelligent materials and articles, shall be manufactured in compliance with good manufacturing practice so that, under normal or foreseeable conditions of use, they do not transfer their constituents to food in quantities which could:
- endanger human health; or
- bring about an unacceptable change in the composition ofthe food; or
- bring about a deterioration in the organoleptic characteris-tics thereof"
(REGULATION (EC) No 1935/2004 OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 27 October 2004
on materials and articles intended to come into contact with food)
Legislation for materials and articles intended to come into contact with food
In the COBICO laboratory are performed the tests for compliance with such requirements as well as technical specifications and conditions, including:
Significant impact on the stability of a product and its safety has microbiological purity of the product itself, as well as a packaging having the direct contact with it. Microbiological contamination of a product (and therefore spoilage of a food) may take place during the production, transport and storage stage, and its source can be air, production line, a man, packaging, or the same raw material for production. Therefore, microbiological cleanness testing should be a part of quality assurance, both by packaging manufacturers during production process, storage and transport of packagings, as well as in production and food packing plants.
The COBICO Laboratory performs microbiological tests:
- Air in the production shops and warehouses by collision method.
- Packagings in direct contact with food,
- Indirect packagings (serves to protect the same direct packagings)
Tests performed for the following:
- The total number of aerobic mesophilic microorganisms,
- Yeasts and moulds
- Detection and differentiation of coliforms and Escherichia coli.
In compliance with the regulatory obligations materials intended for contact with food (between others direct packagings) can not be a source of hazardous substances, pollutants transferred to foodstuff, and thus should not cause changes in the appearance, flavour or odour of packaged food during its storage.
The high sensory quality of food is an important indicator of quality and has a huge effect on the acceptability degree of the product by the customer.
Tests by organoleptic methods allows quickly assess the quality of packaging / food using one or more of the senses. The opinion in the course of such tests is expressed by a person with proven and confirmed sensory sensitivity.
In the COBICO Laboratory:
- We assess by organoleptic methods the potential capability for transfer of foreign flavours and odours from a packaging to food.
- We test solvents residual in the lacquer coating of cans by method of odour detection
- We test lithography resistance to contact with sweat and saliva.
The results of the tests will be used in quality control, when testing new products, as well as modernization of already existing (establishing what elements or processes are affecting the product). Moreover, they are useful in qualifying providers, thanks to the possibility of products differentiation based on their sensory quality.
Food packagings must meet a variety of requirements. The most important is that they do not endanger the health of the consumer. The safety of such packagings is determined by the relevant provisions on materials and articles intended to come into contact with food. In accordance with the applicable requirements, the producer is responsible for the safety of the product and obligated to produce it with Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP). This means that the packaging can not release food packaging material components in quantities which could endanger your health.
The COBICO Laboratory offers comprehensive testing of packagings and packaging materials, including testing the migration from packagings:
- Testing of overall migration – consists in the determination of the total weight of all substances penetrating from the packaging, under specified test conditions, to food or simulant of given food.
- Testing of specific migration of phenol and formaldehyde – consists in the determination of the mass of a substance (phenol, formaldehyde) that permeates from material or article, under specified test conditions, to food or simulant of given food.
These tests are performed in compliance with the obligatory Regulations, Directives and normative regulations.
The COBICO Laboratory also performs chemical, physical- chemical and mechanical testing, i.e.
- Testing of corrosion resistance of crown corks (caps) and metal packagings
- Testing of adhesion and resistance to bleaching of lacquer coatings
- Testing for the presence of lubricants in beverage cans
- Leak testing of tin coating on sheet metal
- Leak testing of lacquer coatings by electrochemical method
- Measurements of sheet metal thickness and hardness (in Rockwell scale)
- Determination of thickness of tin and chromium coatings on sheet metal
- Metallographic testing
- Test of dimensions of cans and ends (e.g. height, parameters of the double seam, free space)
- pH and conductivity measurements
- Testing of Melt Flow Rate of thermoplastics
- Measurements of carbon dioxide content dissolved in fizzy drinks
- And other
In addition, within the scope of carried out work the Laboratory makes: selection of materials for specific groups of packagings, selection of packagings to specified processed foods in order to maintain their properties throughout the whole period of storage, implementation of new packagings and their production technologies, surveillance of the production process. And furthermore makes assessment of the shape and dimensions of steel and aluminium easy open ends scores by metallographic method.