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Ostfriesische Tee Gesellschaft: pioneers in product safety

02.03.2016 - FOODBOARD™, Barriers, Customer Stories

The Ostfriesische Tee Gesellschaft (OTG), one of the leading suppliers of tea in Europe, has decided to convert its entire product range to FOODBOARD™ to provide protection for its brand and the highest level of food safety. OTG is thereby taking on a pioneering role with regard to responsible product management along the entire supply chain.

OTG‘s strict quality policy is reflected in the switch to FOODBOARD™
Sensory quality tests by OTG tea tasters
Sustainable management is part of the self-understanding of OTG for more than 100 years

OTG has taken the subject of packaging safety very seriously. What was the decisive reason for this?

OTG has been pursuing the target of total product safety and the highest standards of materials, processing and product technology for a long time. We have therefore defined the goal to set standards in the industry, also in terms of safe packaging. Discussions about mineral oils in food started in 2010. It therefore became an urgent challenge for us to find the cause of the mineral oil issue and to identify possible solutions.

What were the next steps?  

Operating at full speed, we began cause study in order to identify the sources of the mineral oil contamination in tea. Within this process we subjected our raw materials, packaging materials and our internal supply chain to minute examination with the result that secondary packaging and cross-contamination came to be seen as the cause of mineral oils. Up to then our tea had been packed in virgin fibre cartonboard which rule out the possibility of migration from the cartonboard packaging but do still allow cross-contamination from transport packaging.

What solutions were considered?

Based on technical analyses and the expected effectiveness we made the decision to choose a cartonboard with barrier properties to effectively prevent potential migration of mineral oil components.

How did you design the evaluation process of FOODBOARD™?

Extensive long-term tests over 12 months, were conducted in order to measure the performance of FOODBOARD™ on OTG‘s packing lines while maintaining high safety arrangements, the stability of the packaging was examined in transportation tests and migration analyses were carried out on a quarterly basis. The results confirmed the runnability of FOODBOARD™ on our packing lines, stability of the packaging in transportation tests, and – the most important aspect – no migration of mineral oil or other unintended substances in tea.

Were the additional properties of FOODBOARD™ an argument for making the switch?

Tea reacts very sensitively to environmental odours. Therefore it is all the more important to use packaging material which preserves the original taste and the aroma. In the test phase, we also conducted sensory tests with OTG‘s tea tasters who attested excellent organoleptic characteristics demonstrated by FOODBOARD™. The fact that FOODBOARD™ shows these characteristics was of course a further criterion in favour of the changeover.

Why are you making the switch to FOODBOARD™ before the german legislature has regulated the migration of mineral oil?

Regardless of any statutory regulation our customers have a right to maximum product safety. OTG is the first company in the tea sector to take this necessary step from our point of view. That will secure consumer confidence and the continuing leadership of our brands, Meßmer, Milford and OnnO Behrends. With its barrier properties, FOODBOARD™ also offers protection from other unintended substances. This makes us well prepared to face the challenges the future will bring.

For further information, please contact our team of experts:

Interested? Datasheet and Samples of
FOODBOARD™ can be found here: