A new polymer coating suitable for use as a lining in food and beverage cans is free from bisphenol A (BPA) and is produced using around 60 per less energy than traditional epoxy materials, said the US company behind the product.
Design Analysis Inc, of Jacksonville, Florida, said the PolyKoat thermoplastic polyester coating is free of all volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and is a greener alternative to competitive food can linings. It can be attached directly onto a range of hot and cold-rolled metal packaging substrates; galvanised and tin-free steel and aluminium.
The BPA factor
The coating performs as well as epoxy linings with vastly reduced production costs and contains no BPA, company commercial vice president Jeff Sawka told FoodProductionDaily.com.
“We believe our product is an environmentally-friendly and, in most cases, a lower-cost alternative to epoxy linings,” he added. “Our initial target was to establish the product within two to three years but recent developments and uncertainties about BPA and VOCs meant that people began contacting us, which caused us to change our process and adapt the coating for food cans.”
The company points out that while the scientific debate over BPA continues, many of the leading baby bottle producers in the US have already pledged to stop using the chemical. The firm hypothesizes that consumers rather than food safety agencies may have the final say on the substance with their purchasing choices by opting more and more for BPA-free materials.
While the major food safety agencies continue to back BPA, individual countries such as Canada, France and Denmark have already outlawed its use in food packaging for young children. Earlier this year, leading Australian retailers vowed to phase out the substance and Heinz Australia said it would follow suit on its baby food packaging within 12 months.
The coating has full food contact status and regulatory approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), with confirmation of Canadian and European compliances expected later this month, said the commercial VP.
He added that the company own accelerated testing had demonstrated the efficacy of the product.
“Our tests have proved it to be a stable coating that is highly resistant to chemicals and foodstuffs,” Sawka added. “As well as being tough, it has very good formability and processability. Some coatings have to go through the line twice but PolyKoat only needs to go through once.”
Design Analysis said it is actively seeking collaboration and production partnerships to develop the coating’s market potential. Several large can makers are already currently pack testing PolyKoat and are expected to deliver their verdict on the material by the end of the year, he said.
“We want to work with partners to develop a product that exactly fits their needs rather than give them a generic coating,” said Sawka. “We can provide the production process and license the technology for can makers so they are able to produce their own coating in-house.”