July 7, 2017 - Flexible Packaging

Understanding Food Safety for Flexible Packaging Designs

As flexible packaging grows in popularity, converters and suppliers seek ways to keep up with high production output demands. In particular, these changes have included:

  • Down gauging films
  • Increasing packaging equipment efficiencies
  • Developing curing technologies

However, with these rapid design changes comes an increased potential for food contamination. Take a look at items that need to be addressed to ensure food safety in flexible packaging designs.

Understanding Materials’ Role in Food Safety

All food packaging materials must pass certain FDA regulations. For example, each time a company wants to use a new packaging design, they  must first review the materials used in the design for compliance to applicable FDA Regulations . This is because certain material compositions may increase the likelihood of chemical migration. If a packaging material or component migrates into the packaged food, it is considered a food additive and must be previously cleared by FDA or a Food Contact Notification must be filed for approval by FDA.

To that end, any materials used in flexible packaging must not adulterate food:

  • Packaging must not make food unsafe
  • Packaging must not make food unfit for consumption (impart an off taste or odor)

Understanding Time and Temperature Impact in Food Safety

When developing a flexible packaging design, it’s important to understand that the product’s conditions of use factors in to whether or not it will pass FDA approval. These include:

  • Heat conditions
  • Length of shelf life

These items can impact the likelihood of migration in addition to the types of materials chosen. As a result, the packaging must undergo additional testing, especially in regards to how the package performs in conjunction with the type of food to be packaged.

Understanding Food Behavior in Food Safety 

Certain types of food are more likely than others to pull chemicals from the packaging based on their composition. In particular, these include fatty and aqueous foods. Therefore, it’s important to know how the desired food product will react when packaged. To this end, the FDA requires that the package be tested against a proper food simulant to measure performance and avoid migration issues.

Understanding Film’s Role in Food Safety

Certain barrier properties aid in a film’s ability to decrease the likelihood of chemical migration and increase food safety. However, its level of ability to do so is dependent upon several aspects, including:

  • Density
  • Gauge
  • Molecular weight distribution

To minimize a barrier breach, companies must perform certain migration testing to the film itself.

Adhesives play an important role in flexible packaging design and functionality. Bostik manufactures FDA-approved products for both direct and indirect food contact. Understanding food safety concerns, Bostik works directly with customers to ensure regulations are met.

For more information on how Bostik’s products adhere to FDA regulations and testing protocols, call 800-7-BOSTIK, or visit www.bostik.com/us.

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