Smurfit Kappa becomes first vegan-certified packaging company amid rising concern over chemicals in food packaging

UK – Smurfit Kappa, one of the leading paper-based packaging companies in the world, has registered with the Vegan Society scheme, becoming the first vegan-certified packaging company.

According to Smurfit Kappa, the certification was made possible thanks to the packaging company’s Markham Vale site in the United Kingdom.

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Its vegan certified packaging products are produced using corrugated solutions, which are both vegan and environmentally friendly.

Mark Robinson, Senior Business Development Manager at Smurfit Kappa Markham Vale, said: “At Smurfit Kappa, we pride ourselves on providing innovative and sustainable packaging.

This accreditation will give reassurances to customers with a preference for vegan products that all components of our finished products are cruelty-freeand not from animal origin.”

Smurfit Kappa operates across 36 countries, with 48,000 employees. Its vegan-approved packaging options are suitable for products including fashion, cosmetics, confectionery, food and drinks.

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Food packaging could contain potentially harmful chemicals

Meanwhile, there is rising concern over the presence of thousands of potentially harmful chemicals in food packaging, processing equipment, reusable containers, and kitchen utensils.

A study cited in Critical Reviews in Food, Science and Nutrition journal notes that food contact materials (FCMs) such as packaging could be “a source of hazardous chemicals migrating into foodstuffs”.

Assessing the potential implications of these substances on human health “requires a comprehensive identification of the chemicals they contain”, according to the journal.

The study revealed that only one-third of more than 3,000 so-called food contact chemicals (FCCs) were previously known to be used in the manufacture of food contact materials (FCMs) such as packaging.

Some 60% of the studies were centered on plastics, with 1,976 different chemicals detected, according to the journal, which has compiled the FCCmigex database, a directory of the FCCs.

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“All FCCs in the database were investigated either for their presence in food contact materials or for their propensity to transfer into food under real-world conditions, thus making human exposure to these chemicals highly probable,” the scientists wrote.

The UK’s Food Standards Agency (FSA) responding to claims made by the report said: “Everything that could normally come into contact with food or drink must meet legal requirements on its chemical safety and suitability.

“None of the materials of the finished item can be dangerous to health, change food or drink in a detrimental way, or reduce its desirability by tainting it with an odd taste or smell, or alter its texture.”

Meanwhile, industry body FoodDrinkEurope said that it will need to look into this report before commenting on it directly.

It however sought to reassure consumers by reminding them that EU food-safety regulations are some of the highest – and most effective – in the world adding that the body will continue to investigate and mitigate any risks that are identified.

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