A new method for evaluating the mechanical integrity of food packaging films is developed. The standardized linear increasing load scratch test (ASTM D7027-05/ISO 19252:2008) approach has been successfully utilized to evaluate the mechanical integrity of a set of model packaging films. Mechanical clamp and vacuum fixtures were considered for securing the films to a set of backing materials and tested under various testing rates and film orientation conditions. Film performance was evaluated according to their puncture load. Based on the aforementioned study, the vacuum fixture offers the most consistent and meaningful results by providing a more intimate contact between film and backing and minimizing extraneous motion of the film during testing. Additional testing was also carried out on a commercial film to confirm similarity between damages observed in the scratched films and that from the field. The scratch test gives good correlation between field performance and scratch test results on a set of commercial films. The usefulness of the scratch test methodology for packaging film mechanical integrity evaluation is discussed. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.