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FSSAI to test packaging for toxins release; new packaging standards soon
Friday, 20 May, 2016, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Ashwani Maindola, New Delhi
The apex food regulator FSSAI has sought a surveillance plan from the Indian Institute of Packaging (IIP) with regards to testing the packaging material used in food products so that the risk of toxins released in the food could be mitigated. Currently FSSAI is examining the plan and will hold discussions for its possible implementation. Further FSSAI has plans to come up with packaging standards apart from the existing BIS standards.

Pawan Agarwal, CEO, FSSAI, speaking to FnB news said that it was being done to determine the safety of the material used for food packaging and how the material reacted when it came in contact with the food. “We have asked the IIP to suggest a surveillance plan for checking the safety of the material used for food packs. We’re currently examining the same and soon we will take a decision in the matter,” he said.

This move is in-line with ensuring safety of food and such policy will enable FSSAI to keep an eye on the packaging. Apart from the testing done by Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), FSSAI is set to test the packaging standards of foodmakers. Testing will be carried on packets, bottles, cans or wrappers to see whether or not they release toxins into the food under different temperatures and conditions.

According to the officials of FSSAI, this will help FSSAI to bring down the percentage of the food contaminated due to migration from the packaging material. The FSSAI will conduct research before finalising their own set of guidelines.

The officials further stated that the new standards were expected to increase the frequency of checks and make companies more accountable. FSSAI wants manufacturers to make the packaging process more transparent.

FSSAI will also ask the states to follow the norms and domestic and multinational food giants will be checked.

Meanwhile, the industry welcomed the move saying that it would help the industry in checking any contamination while the smaller FBOs will be able to identify better packaging material for their products.

“The industry has experienced the issue of migration since the packaging was developed. There are certain parameters to avoid migration risks. A crucial component which has to be taken care while procuring raw materials for packaging a food product 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 the statement. Also, the worst case scenarios are mentioned statistically. There are even other systems to ensure safety, the food product should be taken into consideration while choosing the packaging material,” said Neelakamal Mohapatra, head, food processing technology development, Siegwerk India Pvt. Ltd, Rajasthan.

He added, “The new standards will be helpful for small manufacturers while choosing the materials as the migration levels will be mentioned already in the standards. This is a good move which will help small players on a larger scale. If they will be properly educated it will save their costs in incurred in testing on a larger scale.”
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