FDA Approves Mirel Bioplastic for Food Packaging, Utensils

FDA Approves Mirel Bioplastic for Food Packaging, Utensils

Items made from Mirel - Courtesy of Telles

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved two forms of Mirel bioplastic, a material made from corn sugar, for use in products that come into contact with food.

FDA approval means the bioplastic can be used in food packaging, caps, utensils, tubs, trays and hot cup lips as well as houseware, cosmetic and medical products and packaging.

Mirel bioplastic is made from fermented sugar and it can biodegrade in soil and water, home composting and industrial composting settings.

As opposed to the polylactic acid (PLA) that some bioplastics are made of, Mirel is made from polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA), which are polyesters that are produced naturally when sugar is fermented by bacteria.
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The FDA approval covers Mirel F1005 and F1006, two food contact injection molding grades of the bioplatic. It also means that those grades of Mirel can be used to store frozen food and can be used in microwaves and boiling water up to 212°F.

Mirel is sold commercially by Telles, a joint venture between Metabolix and Archer Daniels Midland. In December, the first commercial plant for Mirel went online in Clinton, Iowa, next to an Archer Daniels Midland wet corn mill.

Sugar is sent over from the corn mill to the Mirel plant, which can produce 110 million pounds of Mirel bioplastic a year and sits on a site large enough for it to expand by four times.

Items made from Mirel - Courtesy of Telles