Adhesive that comes into contact with foodstuffs

Posted by Wolfgang Aufmuth on 9/23/19 3:36 PM

Labels in the supermarket

When walking through the supermarket, have you ever noticed how many products feature labels? By labels, I don’t mean the small price tags – these have in recent years been almost completely done away with and prices are instead displayed on shelves – but rather the larger labels that are used as an advertising medium and to display the product information. 

If you look closely, you will see that a large number of products – mainly sausages and cheese – are labelled in this way. This is not the only place in which these labels are used – in the fruit and vegetables section, you choose your products, weigh them and stick the price and product label that is printed at the scales to the plastic bag in which they are weighed or even directly to the fruit or vegetable.

Fresh cheese and sausages are placed in a plastic bag at the deli counter, weighed and a self-adhesive label on which the price information is printed is used to seal the bag. Other products, such as seasoning sauces, spice jars and drinks bottles also feature labels that are used as advertising media.

You have, however, probably never thought about whether the adhesive used in these labels is allowed to be used for this purpose. We at artimelt deal with this on a daily basis.

Regulations for materials/adhesive that come into contact with foodstuffs

There are strict regulations for the packaging and materials, including adhesive, that are allowed to come into contact with foodstuffs! Within the EU, these regulations are set out by the European Commission. The Swiss Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office and the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) are responsible for this task in Switzerland and the US, respectively. For artimelt it is a matter of course to adhere to these regulations and to develop and produce the adhesive accordingly.

Approved lists for direct and indirect contract with foodstuffs in the US

Although there are differences between the regulations and legislation, there are so-called approved lists in the US. These lists define the materials (including adhesive) that are permitted to come into contact with foodstuffs as well as the ways in which they are allowed to be applied to foodstuffs. The lists also specify whether the materials are permitted to come into direct or indirect contact with foodstuffs.

Direct contact with foodstuffs means that the adhesive is allowed to touch the foodstuff itself. Indirect contact is where the adhesive is applied to another material that comes into direct contact with the foodstuff.

For example, you create a label that you want to attach to an apple. The label comes into “direct” contact with the foodstuff when applied. Another label is stuck to the packaging for a piece of cheese. This means that the label does not come into direct contact with the foodstuff, but with the packaging instead. This is what is referred to as “indirect” contact with foodstuffs.

The FDA only approves substances that have undergone thorough prior testing which shows that no components of the substance that could pose a hazard to the health of consumers are transferred to foodstuffs.

artimelt must therefore know exactly whether the adhesive comes into direct or indirect contact with foodstuffs. This is the only way to ensure that artimelt select the right raw materials for the adhesive mixture.

Regulations in Europe

In Europe, the distributor of the foodstuff must prove that the foodstuff and the packaging including adhesive in which the foodstuff is contained are safe and the consumption of the foodstuff does not pose any risks to consumers.

In order to help with this, there is also a wide range of resources available for the distributor to use, e.g. approved lists for plastics that are permitted to come into contact with foodstuffs (EU Regulation 10/2011). This regulation clearly stipulates the raw materials that have been tested and have been found to be suitable for coming into contact with foodstuffs. These raw materials are subsequently allowed to be used in the manufacture of foodstuff packaging made from plastic, provided that they also comply with global migration values and/or specific migration limits. The limits specify the maximum amounts of substances or of a specific substance that are allowed to be transferred to foodstuffs.

Testing by independent institutes

It has become common practice for suppliers to support the distributors by having the individual components of foodstuff packaging tested by independent institutes to prove that the components supplied by them are safe. artimelt thus also has selected adhesive tested to determine whether it can come into contact with foodstuffs.

For the purpose of this testing, artimelt sends the testing institute samples of the adhesive and information on the exact way in which it is intended to be used. The testing institute then carries out its testing in accordance with the generally binding testing standards to determine whether components of the adhesive are transferred to a food simulant. The food simulants used in the testing include, for example, olive oil (which simulates contact with greasy foodstuffs) and Tenax® (which simulates contact with dry foodstuffs).

The institutes’ testing programs and final reports

Depending on the conditions in which the foodstuffs are stored (sausages and cheese are usually stored in a fridge, while biscuits are usually stored at room temperature), a wide range of testing programs can be selected. At the end of the test series, the institute draws up a final report as well as a certificate which specify the types of food (dry, wet, greasy) to which the adhesive is permitted to come into contact.

This ensures that only adhesive that do not release any substances that could negatively affect the health of consumers is used.


In summary:

  • Labels are attached to a great many foodstuffs and foodstuff packaging nowadays.
  • The adhesive (and its components) used for these labels must be tested to determine whether they can come into contact with foodstuffs and assessed as being safe.
  • Approved substances lists make it easier to select the right components in the development of the adhesive.

Our brochure about the UV-technology is available in the download zone.

If you require more information on finding the right adhesive for your foodstuff application, our adhesive experts would be happy to help.

Topics: Etiketten, Verpackung, Labels, Packaging

What is important when transporting money and valuable items?

Posted by Wolfgang Aufmuth on 7/15/19 8:00 AM

What is important when transporting money and valuable items?

 If you are a forward-thinker and are already using cashless payment methods, then you can stop reading here. If, however, you belong to the generation that thinks that “cash is king”, then this blog will definitely be interesting for you.

Money transporters

Although cashless payment methods using Maestro Cards, credit cards, smartphones and other means are on the rise, a large share of purchases made within Europe are still paid for using cash. As at the end of December 2018, there were 22.62 billion bank bills worth EUR 1,231.1 billion in circulation in the eurozone. Many of these bills change owners every day and are taken to banks to be stored securely. As an individual, you carry your bills in your wallet or purse and take them to the bank to be paid in. How though does a department store that takes tens of thousands of euros every day do this? This is the reason that money transporters exist. They pick up the cash and take it to the bank. However, they do not keep the cash in a normal envelope or a bag, but rather a specially designed and manufactured security bag. Stitched into this bag is a great deal of expertise and development work.

The security bag

You can think of the security bag as being similar to the jiffy bags in which items of clothing are sent – but with significantly more security features. After the cash is placed in the bag, it is sealed securely in the same way as a normal envelope – via an adhesive applied on the closing flap. The flap now has to form a seal so strong that it cannot be opened without being detected both immediately after being sealed and until the bag is delivered to its destination. This is achieved by using an adhesive that has a very strong initial bond, also known as the tack, and high adhesive strength. Once the bag is en route with the transporter, there are further dangers lying in wait for the contents of the bag. Resourceful people keep employing a wide variety of methods to try to open the bag without getting caught.


The security features of the bag

This is why it is important to equip the bag with a great many security features.

  • Security printing
    If an attempt is made to open the bag without using any tools, the bag film will either become heavily distorted and even rip, or security printing applied to the bag will be triggered, displaying a legible message – frequently “VOID” or “STOP”. This provides clear evidence that an attempt has been made to open the bag. As simply tearing the bag open is not an effective method of opening the security bag without being detected, other tricks and tools are used.
  • Color change when exposed to warm temperatures
    Anyone who has tried to remove labels from surfaces in the past knows that they are easier to remove if you use a hot air gun or a hairdryer. This trick works with both labels and shipping bags. Once applied, the heat causes the adhesive to melt and lose its adhesive strength and cohesion, which makes the bag much easier to open. A security feature is thus needed to reveal whether high temperatures have been used in an attempt to tamper with the bag. This feature is realized through the use of special imprints that change color irreversibly when exposed to high temperatures. Once the imprint changes color, it cannot be changed back to the original color, thus providing evidence that high temperatures have been used in an attempt to tamper with the bag.
  • Color change when exposed to cold temperatures
    What happens to the bag if it is exposed to cold temperatures? Anyone who has placed an object bearing a label in the freezer will know that this can make the label easier to remove and it sometimes even falls off by itself. This is because the adhesive becomes hard and brittle, losing its elasticity and tack. This also holds true with the security bags, which is why security features have also been designed with this fact in mind. Specifically, a component included in the adhesive that changes color when exposed to cold temperatures. Once effected, this change in color likewise cannot be reversed. The use of such special components that change their color when exposed to high and low temperatures provides a high level of security against tampering.
  • Imprints
    Attempts are frequently made to dissolve the adhesive using solvents. There are, however, some great solutions that show when solvents have been used in an attempt to tamper with the bag. An example of an ideal security feature in this respect would be an imprint that dissolves in the solvent.

There are a wide range of solutions available on the market which demonstrate whether attempts have been made to tamper with security bags using heat, cold, solvents and mechanical force. When selecting these solutions, it is extremely important to know that all of the security features used must be able to work properly together! This is the only way to ensure that attempts to tamper with the bags can be reliably detected. The aim of using all of these features is not to prevent the security bags from being tampered with, but to make it possible for the recipients of the bags to see when attempts have been made to take or add items from and to the bags.

Different uses of the security bags

These security measures are not only used for transporting money now. Have you ever bought a bottle of spirits or perfume from the duty-free shop in an airport? Such purchases are often placed in a security bag that is sealed with an adhesive tab. This prevents the liquid from being replaced with another kind of liquid. Premium replacement parts for vehicles are now also delivered in security bags that reveal when attempts have been made to tamper with them.


In summary:

  • The transport of cash and valuable items is a sensitive matter that requires a high level of security
  • Cash is sent in security bags that reveal when attempts have been made to tamper with them
  • Security bags are designed in such a way that they can reveal when attempts have been made to tamper with them using heat, cold, chemicals and mechanical force
  • All of the components must be able to function properly with each other
  • Absolute security is not possible

If you require more information on finding the right adhesive for your application, our adhesive experts would be happy to help.


Topics: Verpackung, Security, Packaging

Recent Posts