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Debra Smith
Debra Smith
Global Hygiene Specialist

Minimise plastic and food waste by maximising Vikan tool lifespan


The plastic challenge

A cornerstone of food safety is the requirement that any plastics likely to come into contact with food and food-contact surfaces must be food-contact compliant. In Europe, this requirement is detailed in EC Regulations 10/2011, 1935/2004,. 2023/2006 and 178/2002. In the USA it is covered under the FDA’s CFR Title 21.*
Consequently, the Vikan products designed for use in contact with food and food-contact surfaces live up to these regulations.

To secure food contact compliance in Europe, food contact plastics must currently undergo rigorous migration testing, performed by an independent accredited test laboratory. The plastics are tested under different time, temperature, and food type (e.g., acidic, aqueous, fatty) conditions, and the results are documented in an official Migration Test Certificate. All our plastic tools intended for contact with food and food-contact surfaces have been subject to EU migration testing.

We then have a legal obligation to use the information in the Migration Test Certificate to produce a Declaration of Compliance.

Declarations of Compliance for individual tools are available to download from our website in 9 languages. They will tell you how the tool was tested and whether there are any restrictions for its use.


Changes ahead?

The current regulations and limited supply of suitable recycled plastics significantly affect our ability to source cost effective, recycled plastic raw materials.

The recycled plastics required for our food contact tools (primarily polypropylene) are not currently available for food contact use. Because of this, legally we must produce its food contact tools from virgin plastic material. However, there is a significant push among industry and regulators to change these requirements in the near future.

Several countries and the EU are working on amending rules so that recycled materials can be used. Essentially, they want the rules to say that if the material was originally food contact compliant it would continue to be food contact compliant. However, the recycling process itself would have to be validated and verified to ensure continued food contact compliance.

One area where progress has already been made is in the recycling of food contact PET. This has been driven by its ubiquitous use in beverage bottles and food containers. Food contact compliant recycled polypropylene is not widely available because there is relatively little that makes its way into the recycling stream. Additionally, there has been far less demand from manufacturers for recycled food contact compliant polypropylene. However, this part of the recycling/manufacturing system is rapidly evolving as demand increases.

Read more here

As a member of the Danish Plastics Federation, we closely monitor developments worldwide, with the aim of adopting sustainable materials as soon as possible. It is our ambition to have all our plastic products made of recycled or renewable materials by 2030. As we work towards this ambition, it is important for us to enable sustainability in other ways.


A step in the right direction

One plastic sustainability initiative that we have already implemented is the production of our Ultra-Slim cleaning brush. The block of this brush is made using the virgin, food contact compliant polypropylene offcuts from our other products. It’s just one of the many small steps we are taking on our sustainability journey.



Optimising lifespan, minimising waste

At Vikan we have always focussed on the production of high quality, durable tools that provide our customers with good value for money. Feedback from our customers certainly indicates that this is the case.

This product durability can also be considered a great asset when it comes to sustainability. By following a few simple guidelines on how to manage your Vikan tools, you can prolong their lifespan even further.

  • Start by selecting the right tool for the right job, and then use it in the right way. Often the reason a tool becomes damaged quickly and becomes a hazard to the food is because it’s not the right tool for the job and it has been used in a way that it was never intended for. Our team are always on hand to offer advice on tool selection and, if we don’t have the right tool for the job, we may be able to develop something new based on your feedback.
  • Good maintenance is also essential to maximise the lifespan of your tools. Tools should be cleaned and disinfected, as appropriate, at a frequency that not only limits their potential as a source of microbial contamination to the food, but also keeps them in good working order. They should also be frequently inspected for damage and wear and tear and replace as appropriate, to minimises foreign body risk to the food.
  • Appropriate tool storage, for example on wall brackets or shadow boards will limit tools damage and minimise the risk of cross-contamination from tool to tool, and from tool to your food product.
  • All these steps will help maximise the lifespan of your Vikan tools and help minimise food and plastic waste.

You can learn more about maximising the lifetime of your cleaning and food handling tools, and minimise the risk to your food product here.