Skip main navigation

The types of packaging and kitchenware

show the types of packaging and kitchenware
In this video we will show you the most common materials used for packaging food and drinks, kitchenware and contact materials. And we will show you their intended use. One important distinction that you should learn is between exterior material and Food Contact Materials. The exterior packaging makes up more than 90% of the packaging and serves the purpose of handling. The exterior material has little to do with the migration of chemicals into food, since there is no contact. It is important for waste management, for recycling, but not for food safety. Instead Food Contact Material, or FCM, only makes less than 5% of the total packaging, but this material touches our food or drink, for short of for long time.
Althought the quantity is minimal, the contact is maximal. So, it is important to be able to recognize the FCM. Let’s see some examples Example 1. This external package for cookies is made of metal, but the almond cookies are in a plastic wrap inside of a paper wrap, inside the container, so the FCM, indicated by the arrow, is … plastic Example 2.This external package for soft cheese is made of paper, but the cheese is in aluminium wrap, indicated with the arrow. sooo … the FCM is aluminium Example 3. The tea is contained in a bag made of vegetable fibers, or sometimes plastic, which is then placed in a paper envelope, placed in a paper box.
The FCM is … vegetable fibers Example 4.The salami is wrapped in a «skin» indicated with the arrow, that can be made of different materials, from organic to plastic. In this case the FCM is … plastic Example 5. The can, that contains our drink, is made of tin but the liquid comes in contact with the internal surface. The FCM can be aluminium or a thin coat of laquerer, epoxy-based resins or other synthetic material. Exampe 6. Milk and juices containers are made of paper externally, but the internal surface, indicated with the arrows, is coated with other materials, usually polyethyene and aluminium, or biopolymers. Example 7. Fresh fish, meat, fruits and vegetables sometimes are placed directly on coated paper.
Externally it is paper but the FCM can be wax, silicone, plastics or bioplastics Here you see some typical plastic materials that contact our food. The types and purposes of different plastics will be presented to you in the articles. Here you see some more plastic containers and dishware that come into contact with food and drinks, sometimes used for long-term storage. Another commonly used material for food contact is ceramic and earthenware. Here you see some examples Here you see typical coated-paper containers for food and drinks. Remember that the bulk of the package concerns waste management, recycling and green economy, but the cntact materials concerns direcly our health.
So it should be very important to recognize What the FCM is, even if this is only 1% of the whole package. Here you see FCM made of metal, either simply metal (on the left) or metal coated with anti-adherent material (on the right). This is typical of modern kitchenware. Here you see classical cans, made of tin or aluminium, but again it will be important to know what is the internal material, that means the coating Aluminium is widely used in the kitchen, for short or long-term storage. It is thought to be inert, however if it is heated or in contact with acidic foods/drinks it can release some metal, and the metal Aluminium is not really totally harmless.
These are glass containers, commonly found at home. Glass is consider the most inert and safe material. Indeed it is so, but we all know that glass is heavy and can break in a million pieces, which do not dissolve or biodegrade, and are dangerous. Now that you have seen and learned this, you should be able to recognize the various External and FCM materials …. … and pay attention when you shop or prepare food in your kitchen.

In this video we will show you the most common materials used for packaging food and drinks, kitchenware and contact materials.

We will also show you their intended use and the distiction between external material and food contact material.

This article is from the free online

Consumer and Environmental Safety: Food Packaging and Kitchenware

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Our purpose is to transform access to education.

We offer a diverse selection of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world. These are delivered one step at a time, and are accessible on mobile, tablet and desktop, so you can fit learning around your life.

We believe learning should be an enjoyable, social experience, so our courses offer the opportunity to discuss what you’re learning with others as you go, helping you make fresh discoveries and form new ideas.
You can unlock new opportunities with unlimited access to hundreds of online short courses for a year by subscribing to our Unlimited package. Build your knowledge with top universities and organisations.

Learn more about how FutureLearn is transforming access to education