The trend in food packaging is for manufacturers to obtain food safety certification, and many companies are increasing their efforts to not only meet customer demand, but also take the necessary steps to get internationally recognized “stamps of approval.”
A Safe Quality Food (SQF) certification, the world’s most widely recognized Global Food Safety Initiative level — is an internationally recognized set of minimum food safety requirements — that would certainly satisfy customers concerned about food safety. There are multiple factors driving food packagers toward this level of food certification, says Chip Wood, who is the director of food and agriculture business development for SCS Global Services, which provides certification for food manufacturers. He spoke at the Pack Expo 2013, a packaging convention held in late September in Las Vegas.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration identifies the top four areas where food safety can be compromised: deficient employee training, contamination of raw materials, poor plant and equipment sanitation, and poor plant design and construction, Wood says. In the United States, the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), which became law in 2011, has components that aim to increase food safety, and they dovetail into the SQF.
“The FSMA’s formula of audits, prevention, compliance, and response is comprehensively addressed within SQF,” says Wood, quoted in Packaging Digest. “It provides a systematic approach to employee training, inspections, mandatory recalls, record access and administrative detention, product traceability, and laboratory testing.”
Food manufacturers have other reasons to get SQF-qualified, Wood says. Packaging Digest explains further:
In addition to new regulations and buyer specifications, he listed additional factors driving a growing number of food packaging companies to get SQF-trained and certified. These factors include growing awareness of the risks posed by food-borne illness, knowledge of the increased virulence of some pathogens, better detection capabilities, global supply chain issues, protection of reputation, and reduced quality assurance costs.
Polymer Solutions, Inc., can help food manufacturers feel secure that their consumer products are safe for human consumption. PSI technicians can help companies test their packaging films and containers to ensure that the design and composition will keep food fresh.
In addition, many of its U.S. clients are looking to sell their products in the European market, which requires consumer products to be nearly devoid of a growing list of hazardous substances, such as mercury and cadmium. The European Restriction of Hazardous Substance Directive sets those limits, and staff at PSI can test these companies’ products to ensure that they meet those requirements.
Source: “Packagers meet food safety challenges with SQF certification,” Packaging Digest, 9/27/13
Image by Beliflyarom.