The announcement came as Alison Ingle, group packaging manager, Nestlé International, spoke about packaging safety and compliance and challenges for the food industry at the Packaging Innovations tradeshow at the NEC in Birmingham last week (February 25-236).
'Some substances are of concern'
“We will be releasing the guidance note to our suppliers this year because adhesives aren’t covered fully in terms of the current regulations,” she said.
“There are some substances in that, that are of concern and we want to be clear in terms of our strategy.”
According to Ingle, Nestlé has a multilateral approach to its packaging safety and compliance; at the supplier level it refers to its GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) guidance, where it builds technical partnerships with key suppliers and conducts safety audits.
At development level there are specifications and key requirements it has for its packaging and certificate of compliance; and, at the factory level it conducts pallet analysis, certificate of analysis and surveillance.
“It’s very important we have a multilateral approach to manage safety and compliance. We need to have a good relationship between suppliers and manufacturers in sharing information on the development side and at the factory level,” she added.
“Packaging is a necessity and we need it to protect our products and to communicate with our consumers. We want to ensure it gets from A to B through the supply chain but with packaging comes some risks, such as ITX (Isopropyl thioxanthone) and BPA (Bisphenol A).”
Ingle said to manage those risks there are guidelines such as the EU plastics regulation and the Swiss regulation on inks.
“No packaging material is inert, there are chemicals within our packaging that we need to consider and it needs to be safe for our consumers,” she added.
“There are various challenges at different points across the value chain. We have chemicals such as monomers, pigments, antiox, UV-stabilisers, solvents, these all get billed together to create our finished packaging and gets put to use with our food products, therefore there is an interaction between the two.”
Nestlé carries out a safety and compliance audit with its suppliers with trained internal auditors from its packaging development team to ensure the right certifications are in place, such as ISO 22000, PAS 223, BRC-lop, DIN EN 15593, and it is GMA safe.
In terms of development or changing a product, it has a set of requirements that go beyond current regulations in Europe, according to Ingle.
“We have 26 standards within those requirements but we also have our own banned compounds such as ortho-phthalates, no BPA, restrictions on styrene (max 500mg/kg pack), minimum quality of max 600mg/kg mineral oil in recycled board and guidance notes on printing inks,” she said.
“We want to know what inks we use and how we specify what adhesives we use. We look at results from previous years on packaging we have tested, the type of shelf life for how long we package a product for and we make changes to our company surveillance plan every year.”
Ingle added one thing the industry needs to do more of is continous training at every level to ensure ‘we are supporting our suppliers on the importance of safety and compliance’ as well as training employees internally to understand the safety and compliance risks, the various chemicals and the legislation that is available.
Early warning system in place
“Starting actions on a supplier level, guidances for manufacturing are the GMPs which should be used for adhesives, inks, paper and board. We look to our suppliers to reply on the latest guidelines and put those into place,” she said.
“With our technical partnerships we need to ensure we are assessing new technology and put its safety into consideration.
“On the development process we look at what material we are going to make into a product and its absorbency requirement. We need to be aware of what substances have an effect on sensorial qualities, which we require from our products. Are we meeting the right limits the regulation bodies ask us to adhere to.
“We have an early warning system in place to prevent issues arising within Nestlé and we have a set of standards we ask suppliers to adhere to which are based around key risks.
“If we have an issue we have to make sure we have the right corrective actions, an agreement on limits in packaging, or a ban on substances.”
FoodProductionDaily is organising a one hour debate with four guest speakers on Food Packaging Migration on March 13.
Migration of chemicals from packaging materials is a major concern for manufacturers, suppliers and the regulatory bodies responsible for consumer safety and health.
The extent to which a substance migrates depends on the chemical, the makeup of the material(s) from which it could be released and the food with which it comes into contact. Join us at 4pm CET to hear what our panel of experts have to say on the topic by registering here .