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Chemical Substitution in Food Production and Food Contact Materials

Food must be safe from all perspectives, which places high demands on the entire food chain – from raw materials and food production to packaging. RISE has expertise that can help you phase out and find alternatives to undesirable substances, such as chemical pesticides and plasticisers in food packaging.

Today, large quantities of chemical pesticides are used in the primary production of food, mainly herbicides, fungicides and insecticides. When reducing the use of or fully replacing these, functionality must be retained both with regard to provision and food safety.

Packaging or other products intended for food contact must be evaluated in relation to the relevant legislation. Moreover, they must not transfer toxic substances to the product or pose a risk of microbial contamination, thereby shortening the shelf life. Additives such as plasticisers, fillers and strengtheners are common in packaging and other food contact materials. There is also demand from consumers to reduce the number of food additives, but changing the production and storage of food should not increase the need for additives.

Bio-based alternatives to packaging materials are emerging in increasing numbers since there is a willingness to transition to a circular bioeconomy. Regardless of the choice of material and the origin of the raw material, the same safety requirements apply to the finished food packaging.

Our expertise in the field

At RISE, we have knowledge that spans the entire food chain, from primary production through product development to consumption. We also have the expertise to test or develop completely new technical solutions.

We are knowledgeable about relevant legislation (including official guidance documents), the use of plant protection products, biocidal products, limit values, food additives, and food contact materials.

When it comes to food contact materials, we have good expertise relating to the potential material components, their formulations and their suitability for food contact. We can help evaluate the material or packaging in relation to relevant legislation concerning materials intended for food contact.

We can verify the function of the material with respect to mechanical properties, convertibility, barrier properties and transport testing. It is also very important to consider what happens to packaging and other products after use, i.e. how is the material recycled or composted?

When choosing materials and selecting the means of production for the packaging, it is highly beneficial to conduct sustainability analyses such as LCA and LCCA.

RISE’s offer in substitution

  • Analysis of migration of chemical substances
  • Evaluation of the suitability of a substance in materials intended for food contact
  • Screening of substances in materials intended for food contact
  • Evaluation of food safety, e.g. microbial risks and shelf life
  • Testing and development of alternative agricultural engineering solutions

Contact us for more information on how we can help your company with the substitution of undesirable chemicals in food production and food contact materials.

More information

Substitution means that you:

  • Replace a hazardous substance with one that is less hazardous
  • Switch to a different material
  • Or find a completely new solution so that a hazardous substance is no longer needed, for example, by changing the design or process

Contact the Swedish Centre for Chemical Substitution for more information and guidance on phasing out hazardous chemicals in products and processes.

Petter Melin

Contact person

Petter Melin


+46 10 516 66 29

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