If your business is involved in making or producing food and you package it up yourself, you must make sure you use a material and packaging which is suitable for food use.

Compliance Torn PaperToday, most plastic containers will meet the requisite ‘food contact’ standards, but the results of using a non-food-safe packaging can be catastrophic. Plastic can be particularly dangerous if you use the wrong type.

Plastics which are not food grade can ‘leach’ carcinogens and other harmful chemicals into the food product. Even a small amount of these contaminants can be lethal if consumed.

This is why it is absolutely essential to ensure that all of your packaging material is 100% food grade.

Food packaging regulations

The 2012 food contact regulations which are applicable nationally provide a single point of reference for businesses which produce materials and articles which are supposed to come into contact with food.

This document collates a number of important minor regulations including the highly pertinent 10/2011 ‘Food Contact Plastics’ Regulation.

The 2011 plastics regulation ensures that food is only stored in certain types of plastic container. The material has to meet certain requirements such as being BPA free and not being made from cheaper reprocessed materials (which could contain anything).

How to identify a food-safe container

The most important thing to do, especially if you are involved in the production of foodstuffs is to ask your container supplier for a ‘declaration of compliance’. They should be able to show and deliver a copy of this at a moment’s notice, and this will help you ensure compliance with the regulatory body.

Sometimes plastic containers will come with a small symbol of a wine glass and a fork on its underside or it might be marked ‘for food contact’. However, not every food-safe container will have this and it is by no means the industry standard.

One quick test which is not 100% accurate, but which can be used as a rule of thumb, is the colour test. If a container is transparent, white or natural in colour then it is more likely to be food safe. On the other hand if a container is black in colour then it should be treated with more caution. This test is useful for secondary food handlers like restaurants and takeaways, but primary manufacturers should really seek certification from the packaging supplier.

Tamper evident regulation

No legislation suggests that food needs to be contained in tamper-evident food containers (a different set of regulations governs medicines). However, most suppliers rightly want to be sure that their products are not interfered with between the factory and the end-users mouth.

Tamper-evident lids therefore are a necessity for any packaging which is intended to contain food. H&O Plastics range of transparent food pots come with simple push-down tamper-evident lids which will keep contents safe and keep your supply chain happy.

Masterbatch colour plastic certification

Masterbatch is an additive which is mainly used to colour plastics and they are also included under the Food Contact Regulations. This means that to be fully compliant, you will need certification relating to the masterbatch as well as the plastic material.

All of our plastic and masterbatch is rigourously tested and certification is available on request.

For more information on compliance or to make a large commercial order please contact the sales team on 0151 639 0002.

Summer is well and truly here. Already this month, we’ve seen the hottest July day in recorded history and some pretty spectacular thunderstorms.

With the extreme weather set to continue we thought we’d give you some fun ideas to keep busy in the garden this summer.

Bucket water fights

220 Litre Open Top DrumThe humble water fight is an integral part of every British child’s summer. Not to mention an excellent way to keep cool on those long sticky summer days.

And while there is an impressive array of water pistols and water bombs available for purchase, there is no doubting that they can be overpriced and liable to break. Our solution is cheap and sustainable, plus you can get opponents absolutely soaked (if you can get close enough).

Just purchase a bunch of small plastic buckets  from the website. Fill them up at the tap and there you have a powerful water fight weapon – as long as you can get close enough to use it.

DIY plunge pool

If you’re a little old to get into water fights with the kids (or perhaps they don’t let you play because you won’t stop impersonating Rambo) then fear not, there are other ways to keep cool in the water this summer time.

Purchase a large freestanding keg from our website fill with water (and some blocks of ice if you are feeling brave) and get ready to take the plunge. Be warned though, the water is usually colder than you think.

DIY beer cooler

One way which Brits know how to keep cool in the beating sun is with an ice cold beer. But nobody wants to head all the way to the fridge when it’s so nice out – that’s why you should invest in your very own DIY beer cooling system.

Best of all, the beer cooler shares the same design as the DIY plunge pool. Just fill an open top keg with ice and water and there you have a multi-purpose cooling system.

Why not check out our previous post on how to brew your own summer time beer.

Spray your own expensive looking plant pots

red bucket charityIn previous posts we have talked about how plastic containers can make great plant pots if they are drilled out and filled with soil. The problem is that colourful buckets, as pictured below won’t suit every garden, especially in more traditional countryside or suburban settings.

Fortunately though, these plastic containers can easily be spray painted to give them a more toned down look. Try experimenting with black, white, sandy, silver and gold spray paints to achieve the right feel for your garden.

Not only will this give you some good looking and inexpensive plant pots, but it will also give your kids something to do on those long sunny days. Just make sure they don’t go over the top with the spray paint or you could end up with a golden cat!

If you decide to create any of our ideas then be sure to let us know on Twitter.



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