SPMC's FAQs provide guidance for your technical challenges.


"PVC Films and Gamma Radiation"

I need help to assist a customer who wants to do gamma radiation sterilization for PVC Cling Films used in food packaing. Can somebody tell me if it is advisable to do so. What dose should be recommended? What other information is necessary for him to go for gamma sterilization.

Last Updated On September 4, 2019

Any use of PVC films in gamma sterilization needs to be studied very carefully. PVC films are known to show several negative effects from gamma sterilization. These effects will vary depending on the radiation dose as well as the polymer blend and additive formulation of the specific film.

PVC films have shown embrittlement, color change, development of off odors, and excessive additive migration upon exposure to gamma radiation. That being said, there is a specific type of PVC film that is FDA approved for gamma sterilization. FDA 21 CFR 179.45(d) describes a specific vinyl chloride/vinyl acetate copolymer that is approved for direct food contact at exposures up to 60 kilograys.

Anyone contemplating the use of PVC films in gamma sterilization should contact the manufacturer of the film to see if the film meets the requirements of 21 CFR 179.45(d). If not, the manufacturer should be able to give some insight on what to expect from the film at different levels of gamma exposure. Based on this information additional studies would need to be done to determine if sterilizing the specific food product could be done in PVC cling wrap while maintaining the safety and quality of the food product.