Things you should know about food packaging supplies and the regulations that surround it!

by Anindya 01/12/2016
Safety of consumers who consume packaged food are of prime importance. To ensure that, the packaging material used to pack food items has to conform to certain standards. Because of their important role in overall food safety, food packaging products and materials are subject to detailed regulations in most major regions and countries around the world.

What materials are used for food packaging?

Food packaging supplies come in a variety of forms, such as bottles, cans, jars, cartons, bags and wrapping materials. They are manufactured from paper, plastic, petroleum-based substances, engineered products and recycled materials. These days, packaging supplies are also based on agricultural ingredients like plant extracts and fibres, starch and sugar based materials are also becoming increasingly popular as green packaging options.

How can food packaging supplies get contaminated?

Colourants and chemical additives are normally used in the manufacture of food packaging supplies. Contact of the packaging material used with these additives over a long period of time can result in these additives getting transferred to the food products. Over and above, when recycled material is used for food packaging, the chemicals and other agents used to recycle the material can also be harmful for human consumption.

The manufacturing process and storage of food packaging material are also open to various contaminating agents thereby increasing the risk of contamination of packaging supplies.

Food packaging material regulations and standards

As human safety is of primary concern, regulations and requirements regarding food packaging products and materials are generally very strict and are intended to preserve the physical, chemical and sanitary integrity of food products. However, in practice, regulations and standards intended to achieve this, vary according to geography. Know more about choosing the right packaging for food here.

Regulation of Food-Contact Materials in India

India is a significant importer and exporter of food and food packaging material, and commands a strong position in the global market. With rapid globalization of commerce and increase in awareness and concerns regarding consumers’ health, the government of India is in the process of reforming framework legislation pertaining to the safety of food and food-contact materials in India.

The Food Safety and Standards Act (FSSA) was put into effect in 2006. The thrust was towards laying a foundation and consolidation of pre-existing food laws and standards into a single, science-based regulatory scheme intended to cover the manufacture, storage, distribution, sale and import of food, as well as to ensure the safety of materials that may get in contact with food intended for human consumption.

The FSSA established a new governmental agency, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) and tasked it with developing science-based standards and a methodology for the evaluation of food and food-contact materials, preparation of guidelines for the accreditation and certification of testing laboratories, and providing guidance.

As on date, all food safety regulations are in place and consumer health concerns are being addressed proactively. There are separate set of rules and regulations for different categories of food like, Milk & Milk Products, Oils & Fats, Fruits & Vegetables, Canned Meat and Water. There are specifications for containers also.*

With so many different categories of food product packaging to cater to, there is a huge market for packaging supplies. You can buy as well as sell food packaging supplies on Amazon, one of the most popular e-commerce platforms in the world. To sell on Amazon, please register as a Seller on Amazon.

*Source: India Filings: Food Packaging Regulations in India

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