Most consumers would be amazed to find out how much thought and preparation goes into getting that tin of soup from the tomato patch to a steaming bowl of delicious goodness.
For food manufacturers and distributors, it’s a complicated process of ensuring constant food quality and control so their products arrive in fresh condition and are healthy and safe for their consumers. Following are some dos and don’ts to make sure your products arrive in an optimum state.
Do your research.
There can be a few layers of packaging around food items – from the food container itself, to the outer wrap on the transportation pallet. Evaluate the types of packaging available and choose one that suits your product. You’ll want to ensure that chemicals from the packaging aren’t leaching into the food, and the food stays fresh and high quality.
Make sure that your packaging area and each stage of the supply chain is controlled and monitored
Food quality is only as good as the weakest link in the manufacturing, packaging and transportation system. Meanwhile, sloppy practices in all of these areas can degrade products quickly. Ensure all stages are as controlled and safe as they can be.
Use food-approved packaging.
Look for the wine glass and fork symbol, and the words ‘for food contact’, or check with your supplier.
Understand the legal ‘migration limits’ of chemicals from plastics moving into foods.
Because, as food packaged in plastic goes through the supply chain, additional legislation applies.
Know the rules around Packaging Products of Animal Origin (POAO).
These include upholding the quality of packaging and ensuring the approval marks and identification marks of country of origin and dates are standardised.
Use ‘green’ packaging where available.
Huge amounts of packaging are used in getting food from the field to the table of billions of people on a daily basis. That adds up to a lot of waste. Some companies recognise the problem and offer solutions such as sugar cane ethanol-based polythene. Besides not using fossil fuels for manufacturing, it’s also recyclable after use.
Become a member of the British Retail Consortium (BRC).
BRC has an auditing process and a set of expectations for packaging warehouses around building maintenance, layout, hygiene, pest control and waste management.
They define food as a high-risk category, and the related rules cover packaging that comes into direct contact with food. As a member of BRC, those involved in the supply chain and your consumers will have greater trust in the quality of your food products.
Unwittingly contaminate your food products.
This can happen in a variety of ways and at any stage of the process, such as the food’s exposure to cleaning chemicals, fumes from transportation vehicles, chemicals from metals, and bacteria. And packaging needs to isolate foods from contaminants of any kind, so choose the appropriate product.
Use aluminium for acidic foods like tomatoes
The acid and metal react with each other, degrade the food quality and make the product inedible.
Package all types of food in the same area.
Equally you shouldn’t store packing material where it could take on bacteria that can contaminate the food. For example, don’t use equipment used to package raw food for ready-to eat food.
If you’re serious about protecting your food product’s reputation, there are a number of areas to research to ensure your food packaging processes are clean and avoid the chance of cross-contamination.
Equally important is ensuring your packaging choice upholds your product’s quality. And when it comes to consumer health, safety is vital. Many food manufacturers and distributors find that food grade BRC-standard polythene packaging ticks all the boxes for transporting food safely and maintaining its quality – but check what might be best for your products.
Marpak Extrusions have a variety of food packaging options and can help with expert advice on which packaging to choose. Get in touch today by contacting us online, or by calling 0843 289 0273.