Photoinitiators in food supplement packaging: regulations and safety issues


What is a photoinitiator?

Photoinitiators are substances that initiate the photo-polymerization of certain resins, including those used in printing inks, coatings, and adhesives. They are also used in the production of food packaging materials that may come into contact with food during storage, transportation, and handling. However, the use of photoinitiators in the packaging of dietary supplements has become a concern due to potential health risks associated with their use.

Regulations on photoinitiators in dietary supplement packaging

The use of photoinitiators in packaging is regulated in the European Union (EU) under Regulation (EC) No. 1935/2004, which establishes general requirements for materials and articles intended to come into contact with food. It requires that these materials and articles do not transfer their constituents to food in quantities that could endanger human health, alter food composition, or cause a deterioration of their organoleptic properties.

Additionally, Regulation (EC) No. 2023/2006 sets out good manufacturing practices for materials and articles intended to come into contact with food. It requires that manufacturers of dietary supplements and other food contact materials ensure they are manufactured under appropriate conditions to prevent contamination and do not contain any substances that may pose a risk to human health.

Safety issues related to photoinitiators in dietary supplements

One of the main safety issues related to photoinitiators in dietary supplements is their potential carcinogenicity. Indeed, some photoinitiators have been classified as probable or possible human carcinogens by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).

Prolonged contact with these compounds can pose an increased risk of cancer, especially for individuals who regularly consume dietary supplements containing photoinitiators.

Additionally, photoinitiators can also cause allergic reactions in some individuals. Symptoms may include skin rashes, itching, redness, and swelling. People with food allergies or other allergies are particularly susceptible to these reactions.

Finally, photoinitiators can also be toxic to organs, especially the liver. When regularly ingested in significant quantities, they can cause liver damage that may be irreversible.

To reduce health risks associated with photoinitiators in dietary supplements, manufacturers should take measures to limit the use of potentially hazardous photoinitiators and explore safer alternatives for the production of dietary supplements.

Guidelines for the safe use of photoinitiators in dietary supplements

To ensure the safe use of photoinitiators in dietary supplements, it is important to follow established guidelines for their use. The European Printing Ink Association (EuPIA) has published a guide for the use of printing inks for food packaging materials, which includes guidelines for the use of photoinitiators.

The guide recommends that photoinitiators be used only in printing inks intended for food packaging materials and that they do not exceed the limits set by EU regulations. It also advises manufacturers to perform migration testing to ensure that photoinitiators do not migrate from the packaging material to the food.

Who is EcoMundo?

We offer a range of regulatory compliance services for dietary supplements, including risk assessment, labeling and packaging compliance, and product registration.

We assist manufacturers and distributors of dietary supplements in ensuring that their products meet regulatory requirements and are safe for consumption. We also provide guidance on ingredient use, claims, and labeling requirements in different countries worldwide. Overall, our expertise lies in helping businesses navigate the complex regulatory landscape of dietary supplements and ensuring that their products comply with applicable regulations.

For more information, contact us!

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