FSSAI sets new food packaging regulations effective July 1

INDIA – India’s food regulator, Food Safety and Standards Authority (FSSAI) has announced new packaging requirements and food businesses are required to comply with the new rules effective July 1, 2019.

The new regulations replace provisions in the Food Safety and Standards (Packaging and Labelling) Regulations, 2011 and prohibits packaging material made of recycled plastics including carry bags for packaging, storing, carrying or dispensing articles of food.

According to FSSAI, the new regulations aim to adopt standards which will regulate different packaging components, such as plastics, glass, paper, metal, printing inks, etc. across the packaging supply chain.

They state the specific requirement with respect to packaging materials for food products, defining the overall migration and specific migration limits of contaminants for packaging materials.

Food businesses are required to ensure that the packaging material supplier is providing the safe and food grade material complying with the standards provided in the regulations.

The food regulator said that implementation will be carried out by stakeholders tasked to conduct consultation and mass awareness among consumers and food businesses.

Pawan Kumar Agarwal, chief executive officer, FSSAI said that the new packaging regulations would raise the bar of food safety in India to the next level.

“There would be difficulties in implementation of these regulations, particularly for the unorganized sector.

Thus, sufficient lead time of about six months has been given before the regulations come into force,” he said.

“Recognizing the importance of packaging in the food sector and its impact on food safety, the packaging regulations have been separated from the labeling regulations and a separate scientific panel for food packaging is planned.”

What is prohibited?

The regulations prohibit the use of newspaper and such other materials for packing or wrapping of food articles, putting into consideration the carcinogenic effect of inks and dyes.

Packaging material made of recycled plastics, including carry bags for packaging, storing, carrying or dispensing articles of food is also not allowed.

FSSAI revealed that the regulations address the concerns of two recent studies it conducted through the Indian Institute of Packaging (IIP) and the National Test House (NTH).

The studies showed that the packaging material used by the organised sector was largely safe, but there were concerns about the use of packaging material by the unorganized/ informal sector.

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