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BIS starts work on new standards for printing ink; Toluene ban likely
Tuesday, 27 March, 2018, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Ashwani Maindola, New Delhi 
The Bureau Of Indian Standards (BIS) has started working on new standards for printing ink used for packaging food products. It is likely to ban the use of toluene for the purpose of printing for packaged food, which, in effect, will force the companies to change their packaged material to comply with new norms.

Toluene is a chemical used as a paint thinner and can led to serious health hazards, hence it is banned in many countries. However, there is not enough awareness about ink-related contamination amongst food business operators (FBOs) in India, while the country focuses on food safety with regards to hygiene or sanitation, certification or standards.

Sources stated that BIS had been considering upgradation for the ink norms and globally, the use of toluene is discarded for its ill-effects, and therefore, taking a cue, the BIS will soon release the new set of standards and norms for the ink used for the packaged food and all nutrition, pharma and hygiene (NP&H) packaging applications.

Siegwerk is one of the leading suppliers of printing inks for packaging applications worldwide.

“In India, has recently moved towards toluene-free inks. The unfavourable toxicological and organoleptic properties of toluene were the driving factors in moving away from the solvent,” said the company.

Ashish Pradhan, chief executive officer, Siegwerk India, said, “In India, toluene is the most common agent used in printing ink for packages.”

He said, “In principle, in the manufacture of all products supplied by Siegwerk for NP&H applications, toluene or raw materials containing toluene are not used as intentionally-added ingredients.”

“Siegwerk’s Bhiwandi site is now toluene-free and does not use toluene in its manufacturing processes,” he added, stating that to ensure compliance and rule out any possibility of cross-contamination, Siegwerk India has established adequate controls to guarantee the inks delivered to customers are toluene-free.

Meanwhile, Pawan Kumar Agarwal, chief executive officer, FSSAI, said, “In certain cases, the Food Safety and Standards Regulations, 2011, refer to BIS standards, and it would be further helpful if BIS comes up with new standards on ink.”

“Our packaging norms talk about such material that can come into contact with food, which also include ink. There are standards as well on the subject. In several cases, we rely on BIS standards and if BIS comes up with standards on this subject, it will be useful to us, as in some of the subjects, FBOs are asked to follow BIS standards,” he added. 
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