Silver anniversary highlights golden partnership between steel and food contact giants
Two leading players in the development and compliance of coated steel for food packaging are this year celebrating a highly valued 25-year relationship over which the pair have successfully navigated the highly complex legislative and compliance landscape for steel for food canning and related food contact coatings.
In the late 1990s, Tata Steel Nederland (then Hoogovens) and Triskelion (then TNO) joined forces to develop rigorous compliance assessment procedures for polymer coated steel (known as Protact®) designed to meet customer and authority requirements relating to the food contact status of Tata Steel’s food packaging products.
Now, 25 years on, that special relationship between the two companies has grown from straightforward migration testing of commonly used substances to wider and increasingly more sophisticated analysis, testing and NIAS (non-intentionally added substances) screening.
According to Chantal Christis, Business Unit Manager at Triskelion, the special relationship between the two companies has been built on high volume of detailed analysis of Tata Steel’s supplier information which underpins the company’s product compliance with relevant EC and FDA legislation.
“Triskelion has over thirty years expertise of food contact materials analysis and an in-depth knowledge of the myriad regulations governing the food contact materials value chain. Work between our two companies ranges from resolving ad hoc questions to continuous, in-depth support provided by dedicated teams which seek to comply with current and future regulations,” she said.
A key milestone in the organisations shared journey has been the compilation and submission of a Food Contact Notification (FCN) for Trivalent Chromium Coating Technology (TCCT®) - Tata Steel’s first FCN submission to the FDA.
Looking back over the long partnership and what makes its work, Hans Dommershuijzen, Manager Regulatory Affairs, Packaging, Tata Steel Nederland said:
“To determine a detailed picture of the composition, for almost all raw materials used in manufacturing, Tata Steel requires an independent third-party laboratory assessment which can determine compliance with FDA and EC food contact legislation, and this is where Triskelion plays such a vital role. What started as a collaboration on Protact has gradually expanded to a wider scope. Most recently both companies worked together on TCCT, a new packaging steel grade.
“While the flow of information from suppliers and manufacturers of raw materials is increasingly transparent, it is inevitable that food contact legislation will develop still further and this in turn will require a continued close collaboration between Tata Steel and Triskelion enabling them to respond quickly to ad hoc questions, as well as building on historical knowledge.”
Driven by increasing public awareness, science and political concerns, legislation will always be updated, for example on substances that are permitted, and the maximum migration limits that are allowed. Regulations may even be completely revised. In the coming years more focus is expected by regulatory authorities on Non-Intentionally Added Substances (impurities, contaminants, by-products), while requirements on testing setup (detection limits for example) will continue to be scrutinised and will likely become stricter.
For Tata Steel Nederland it is important to continuously innovate for which Triskelion and other knowledge institutes will be needed. Triskelion in turn will make sure that both its regulatory support and analytical capabilities stay in line with what is needed to offer quality support to Tata Steel but also for other partners.
Ilja Portegies Zwart, Head of Technical, Packaging, Tata Steel said:
“The relationship between Tata Steel and Triskelion is both rare and highly valued. We look forward to the next 25 years which will see an ever-changing landscape and present new and interesting challenges which we will meet together with Triskelion, customers and others.”
Celebrating 25 years of successful cooperation with the teams of Triskelion (Chantal Christis, Business Unit Manager, Gerard Haagh, Project Manager) and Tata Steel IJmuiden B.V. (Helga Groen, Product Manager and Hans Dommershuijzen, Manager Regulatory Affairs).
Not in photo: Li de Groot, Project Manager, Triskelion
About Tata Steel Nederland
Tata Steel Nederland is one of Europe’s leading steel producers. The company supplies high-quality steel products to the most demanding markets, including construction, automotive, packaging and engineering. Tata Steel Nederland works with customers to develop new steel products that give them a competitive edge. Tata Steel Nederland has sites in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and elsewhere in Europe and is part of the Indian Tata Steel Group, one of the world’s largest steel companies. Tata Steel Nederland recorded a turnover of 6.9 billion euros in the financial year ending 31 March, 2022. Tata Steel Nederland is working on producing steel with zero carbon emissions by 2045. It will do so by switching to producing steel by using hydrogen instead of coal.