The Framework Regulation (EC) No 1935/2004 requires that food packaging does not transfer a taste or odor to food. Taint testing is required to identify what contaminants are causing the issue and why.

Smithers has 30 years' experience in taint testing and investigations. The laboratory has contributed over the years to numerous text books on the subject. Taint investigations often require a detailed knowledge of typical packaging compositions to allow abnormal compositions that might be responsible for a taint to be recognized. 

Taint testing - specialist expertise and analytical techniques

The concentrations required to cause a taste or odor may be as low as a few parts per billion. This requires dedicated, speciality, sensitive analytical equipment (Gas Chromatography Mass Spectrometry). The chemical or chemicals responsible are usually not known so that several analytical methods may be required. Smithers has the expertise, experience and laboratory capabilities necessary to carry out this type of investigation.

Taint testing requires that the subjective nature of the human senses also be taken into consideration. Interpretation of the results often requires access to databases of human taste and odor thresholds in a range of media as well as a sound knowledge of the typical types and concentration ranges of chemicals used in packaging. 

Packaging taint and odor panel testing

Smithers has in-house panel testing facilities to get real-world feedback on taint and odor characteristics of packaging materials. Our packaging experts sets up blind testing programs, whereby participants have to compare and rank taint and/or odor characteristics. This helps give assurances of confidence in the suitability of your packaging materials and end-user satisfaction.

Packaging performance

Smithers has access to a wide range of analytical techniques allowing the identification and quantification of chemicals in a wide range of packaging materials and foods. 

In combination with the expertise and equipment for packaging technical investigation available at Smithers, we help clients solve numerous packaging related problems. Common issues include packaging performance, product contamination or packaging related complaints.

We help with: 
  • Identification of contaminants through taint testing
  • Quantification of residual solvents to EN 13628-1 and EN 13628-2
  • Characterisation of components in paper, plastics and coatings
  • Comparison of ink compositions
  • Quantification of specific compounds in foods and food simulants.

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