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.
Today, 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.