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Migration From Glass Study

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Monday 17 February 2003

Dr Adam Kelsall and Nicola Broadhurst of Glass Technology Services in Sheffield have recently completed a major study on the migration from glass items in contact with foodstuffs, simulating wherever possible real conditions of use. Commissioned by the Food Standards Agency, the study lasted for two years and the resulting comprehensive report is set to become a valuable resource document.

The approach adopted in the study was relatively simple: By first identifying what types of glassware are in use in the UK for food contact application, a wide range of samples was collected to ensure sufficient testing of all key glass compositions in conditions that would replicate the most common usages.

Testing proved that, despite developments in production practices and increases in recycling rates, elemental migration is still low from commonly used glass compositions.

Glass, as a relatively chemically inert material, is used in a wide range of ways and there are several distinct chemical compositions used in contact with foodstuffs and beverages under different conditions. For example, soda lime silicate is used in bottles, jars and tableware; borosilicate for Pyrex and ovenware and lead crystal for decanters and goblets.

Further, certain types of glassware are often treated, coated, washed, surface damaged, cooked in, microwaved in and pasteurised during a normal life cycle.

Copies of the report (No. A03029) can be obtained from:

Dr John Dixon, The Library, Food Standards Agency, Aviation House, 125 Kingsway, London WC2B 6NH. Tel: 020 7276 8060; e-mail: john.dixon@foodstandards.gsi.gov.uk

Notes to Editors:

1. Glass Technology Services is the independent technology arm of British Glass and operates completely autonomously providing services under three headings - Analysis and Diagnostics, Consultancy and Project Work to serve all customers who manufacture, work with, or use glass.

2. Various food contact materials can be used for food packaging so long as they are safe. With regard to packaging in contact with foodstuffs, migration is a concern as it can inadvertently affect the food or pose health concerns to the consumer and this area, therefore, is under constant research and regulation. The study comprised a programme of experimental work designed to increase understanding of migration issues related to glass materials in contact with foodstuffs. Although there was data available on most commonly used glass types, most of this work was historical and only lead migration from lead crystal had been given extensive attention from the scientific community over recent years. As manufacturing methods have developed over time, and issues such as greater recycling rates and higher rates of imported glassware occur, it was felt necessary to update this data.

Further information can be obtained from:

Dave Dalton
Glass Technology Services
9 Churchill Way
Sheffield S35 2PY
Tel: 0114 290 1801
Fax: 0114 290 1851
Web:  www.glass-ts.com




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