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Seminar on flexible packaging cites significance of safe packaging in food

Friday, 05 February, 2016, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Pushkar Oak, Mumbai
Experts stressed on ensuring safe packaging for food safety through right communication, formulations and understanding the regulations, at a seminar on ‘Role of Flexible Packaging in Food Safety,’ organised jointly by Siegwerk Group, a manufacturer of printing inks for packaging, and Henkel Adhesive Technologies India, a global adhesive solutions provider, here on Wednesday.

The seminar opened with presentation on Challenges in Safe Packaging of Food Products by Sameer Mehendale, sr manager, R&D material equipment interaction, Asia-Pacific, Mondelez India. He said, “We usually face many challenges like those in packaging, for example:
We, at Mondelez were to drop the paper wrapped on the eclair chocolate. While experimenting with the chocolate we found out that the purple cover which was wrapped turned colourless. This was a primary experiment conducted to ensure that the food product is safe after packaging.”

Mehendale suggested that such challenges occur in the product development stage itself but the industry needs to go ahead and overcome them.

Online woes
Later, in the media meet, Dr Corbett Wallace, business director for packaging, consumer grievances and communication, IMEA region, Henkel Adhesive Technologies, said, “Flexible packaging is the need of the hour. We have seen that the goods earlier sold for loose are now sold with attractive packaging. All produces like vegetables and fruits are also now packed and sold. We haven’t encountered a person complaining about a label on an apple making him ill due to the adhesive used. Thus, formulation of adhesives should be taken care depending upon where is the product sold.”

He added, “Even the online segment has created an impact to further the packaging growth. The online segment is more popular and creates more demand in flexible packaging as there is a single product which is delivered to the consumer. Flexible packaging is strong and attractive and is economical. Use of adhesive is more in flexible packaging.”

Meanwhile, Sunil Kumar, business director, industrial adhesives, south Asia region, Henkel India, stated, “Around 2017-18, we (Henkel) will be coming up with its plant in Pune which will be world’s largest plant for flexible packaging. We have specialised adhesive technologies which are food- friendly and these are extensively used in the food packaging with name as Loctite. Loctite is a brand used in beautycare, laundry and all sorts of packaging adhesives in India and across the globe.”

Throwing light on the market, Jayachandran Nair, business manager, flexible packaging, tapes & labels adhesives, Henkel Adhesive Technologies India, stated, “Henkel’s adhesives accumulate to the 50% packed retail products in the market. Adhesives is a related market which is growing with the growth among packaging and food processing markets. Henkel is manufacturing these adhesives since 60 years and has been a market leader.”

Tools for ensuring packaging is safe
Talking about tools, Claudia Hoelscher, regional manager, product safety, IMEA, Europe, Henkel Adhesive Technologies, said, “The adhesives in food contact should be taken care specially. The risk assessment is a tool through which the care can be taken. The risk assessment should be conducted at all the levels of the supply chain. This will ensure more safety to the packaging. Communication within our supply chain is a must as it helps to comply and stay safe and ensures that our packaging is food grade.”

Dr  Jorg Peter Langhammer, VP, Siegwerk Group, in his presentation on usage of inks and packaging material, said, “There are standards all over the globe regarding the specifications of allowance of migration through the packaging material. Many nations along the globe have included a list of allowance of migration of various residue to a very negligible limit which is usually represented in ‘parts per million’ or ‘parts per billion.’ The packaging material supplier has to to be made aware that to which country your packaged product will be exported so that the material supplied to you will be ensured to comply to the regulations of that nation.”

“Another major thing is Statement of Composition (SoC). This statement has a tabulated format of migration patterns of the material which is supplied. A detailed note of possible migrants is mentioned in it. Also, the worst case scenarios are mentioned statistically. There are even other system to ensure safety like Non Intentionally Added Substances (NIAS), which can be useful to play safe in the market,” added Langhammer. He also stressed on the issue of different regulations while the food products are rejected due to the migration of ink into the product.

Dr Ralph Detsch, director of technology, flexible packaging, Siegwerk Group, in his presentation covered formulations of safe inks used in flexible packaging. He said, “Formulation is a very unique step. We need to ensure that a particular formulation which is suitable for a manufacturer of a particular country may be different from the other country.”

The seminar discussed the aspects of packaging which may be of prime concern to the packaging industry as it affects food safety. The seminar tried to stress on the compliance of the laws and regulations throughout the supply chain so that everybody in the supply chain may benefit from playing safe. The seminar touched some valid points to create literature and papers so that the involvements of ink, packaging materials and adhesives can be studied and industry may have ample references while coming up with a product.

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