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Injection grades of Mirel granted FDA food-contact certification

Two injection molding grades of Telles' polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) Mirel bioresin have received U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) clearance for use in food-contact applications. Effective May 11, Telles' Mirel F1005 and F1006 received FDA clearance, with the company saying that the news and the earlier start up of its Clinton, IA production facility allowing it to accelerate commercialization.

) clearance for use in food-contact applications. Effective May 11, Telles' Mirel F1005 and F1006 received FDA clearance, with the company saying that the news and the earlier start up of its Clinton, IA production facility allowing it to accelerate commercialization. "With the Clinton plant now in operation, and this FDA clearance, we now can move forward with brand owners' requests to use Mirel in their injection molded food packaging applications," said Richard Eno, CEO of Metabolix, which along with Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), operates Telles as a joint venture.

A Metabolix representative told PlasticsToday that the company is also pursuing FDA food-contact certification for its film and thermoforming grades, with "extensive" development of food-contact applications underway with clients. For these newly certified injection molding grades, the company has annual production capacity of 110 million lb.

Specific to non-alcoholic products, potential applications for the newly cleared grades could include injection molded forks, spoons, knives, tubs, trays, hot cup lids, and caps and closures. Given Mirel's properties, usage conditions can run the gamut from frozen food storage to boiling water up to 212°F and microwave reheating. Commercial grades of Mirel are available for injection molding, cast sheet, thermoforming, and film applications.

At the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE) Global Plastics Environmental Conference (GPEC) in March, Robert Engle, Telles general manager, said the company was "on the verge" of going commercial. At the time, Engle said Telles would launch with four aforementioned products serving injection molding, thermoforming, and cast and blown film. The Clinton, IA facility started up with 50,000 tons/yr of capacity. Thirteen grades of bioplastics competitor NatureWorks' (Minnetonka, MN) Ingeo polylactic acid (PLA) resin satisfy food-contact requirements in the U.S. and Europe. 

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