Preventing Migration From Food Labels

Posted in Digital Label Manufacturer by CS Labels on 14:50 August 25th, 2017
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Since 2008, CS Labels have been employing Xeikon digital label printing technology, using dry toner to print in CMYK and white colours. In this time, the food industry has become more aware of the migratory issues in food labelling. Migration is the transfer process of substances from the packaging to packed foods and has become very apparent in our food labels and packaging today.

By coming into contact with items meant for consumption, the materials used to create packaging is of a serious public concern. As such, packaging that is created for food must meet severe requirements on their physical and chemical safety. Aside from food packaging, this also applies to items such as bottles, cans, cutlery etc – no matter the material from which it’s made.


Measures Taken To Prevent Migration From Food Labels

With the sheer amount of packaging that we use in today’s world, the contamination of food is now obviously high on the food chain agenda. The SML (Specific Migration Limit) refers to the maximum permitted amount of a given substance that can be released from the packaging material (or printed layer) into the food before it is rendered harmful.

Here are some important facts contributing to migration:


  • Size of ink/toner molecule: The larger the molecule is, the less likely it will be to migrate.
  • Temperature: Migration will occur faster at high temperatures
  • Nature of the food: Foods that are high in fat content are more likely to cause migration than dry foods.
  • Packaging material: Some materials are better than others in regards to holding back levels of migration.
  • Different types of coating/finish also play a part in determining the level of migration.


Food safety With Toners and Inks

When it comes to printing food labels, there is such more choice from which to choose from in regards to the toners and inks used. Aside from primers (which can be used to reduce the risk of migration) here are the type of inks used in food packaging and their individual qualities:


  • Liquid toner isn’t at all ideal for creating food labels, as the ink usually consists of mineral oil which evaporates during process but there is a possibility of residue and particles being left behind.


  • Water based inkjet consists mainly of pigments that have no tendency to migrate. The only potential migrants present in water based inkjet prints are humectants residing in the substrate prior to full evaporation. Water based inkjet is also poor in its adhesion to polymeric substrates.


  • UV curable inkjet is 6 times lower in its viscosity than UV flexo inks (although it has to be, to allow it to pass through the inkjet heads). When the ink penetrates the substrate it cannot properly cure especially on more porous material, leaving dangerous components to migrate.


  • Dry toner clearly has an advantage over the rest in printing food labels; both in terms of migration and its chemical composition. The colourant used in dry toner is a pigment which is not considered a migrant. There is no liquid involved and the pigment particles are held in a resin that has a high molecular mass, so migration is unlikely. Dry toner works on standard materials without the need for primers, making it the better choice for food labelling.


CS Labels’ Dry Toner Packaging Printing Service

Here at CS Labels, we have been at the forefront of the labelling and printing industry for many years now. Endeavouring to stay at the top of the industry tree, we regularly refresh our knowledge and invest in our business. As an example, in recent years we have taken ownership of three of the fastest models of digital printers in the world. We are able to handle literally millions of label and packaging print runs, all fully customisable. Our experience and longevity in the printing industry should suggest our ethos of moving and adapting to the latest changes in technology.

In terms of our dry toner experience, we are able to produce flexible packaging in the form of stand up pouches, 3 side seals and sachets. With permissible or no toner migration, our new development into the world of flexible packaging makes us a must to talk to for all your flexible packaging needs.

It is a fact that food is purchased by the look of its labelling/packaging – our high definition 1200 dpi printing through the Xeikon dry toner based digital technology, should be on every food company’s list. Digital is NOT the short run print method it is deemed to be – here at CS Labels we regularly run packaging volumes in excess of a million units.

Quite simply, there is no better time to join the digital revolution and purchase food-safe labelling or flexible packaging from CS Labels.


Contact CS Labels Today For More Information On High-Quality Food Packaging

If you would like further information on food labels and migration, or on any aspect of our service, why not get in contact with us today? You can give us a call on 01902 465 840 or alternatively, you can send an e-mail to