Expert's Opinion

How to stay on top of food regulations

February 16, 2017

Because producing compliant labels is of the utmost importance.

Food label converters have to be aware of any food labeling regulation changes that might affect their business. Not only do they need to actively follow the food packaging debate in their region, they also need to anticipate any new legislation so they can make the necessary adjustments to their machine park, by the right materials (substrate, inks,…). Ink and toner regulations, for example, are constantly being revised. In this article, we focus on some of the recent changes in legislation and reveal how Xeikon can help you stay on top of things.

Countries worldwide have their own food labeling regulations, which doesn’t make it easy for label converters. In Europe for example, the European Commission issues directives and regulations, but member states have some leeway on local implementation. A good example is the Swiss Ordinance on Materials and Articles in Contact with Food, which lays down a list of permitted substances that go far beyond the European Commission’s directives.

Nestlé Guidance Note
Brand owners too sometimes follow their own set of rules. The Nestlé Guidance Note on Packaging Inks, for example, stipulates that only components that are listed in the Swiss Ordinance can be used for packaging inks, but it also explicitly excludes some of these, such as certain photo-initiators, acrylates, and solvents. Why? They realize how sensitive customers are with regard to food health so they don’t want to take any risks of brand damaged. For such companies it is part of their commitment to their consumers.

Stricter regulations
For food label printers the plethora of laws and restrictions might seem a bit overwhelming at first. However, it’s important that they produce food compliant labels, even if the rules tend to change on a regular basis. The Food and Drug Administration in the US, for example, recently announced new guidelines regarding the term “healthy” in the labeling of foods, while Nestlé’s migration thresholds have become stricter over the last years.

Food label converters not only must take these regulations to heart, they also have to inform their clients of any changes. Fortunately, legislation usually takes a while to be implemented, which buys you, the food label printer, some time. Nonetheless, to avoid unpleasant and costly surprises, it’s critical to always keep an eye on the food packaging legislation.

Two partners with food labeling regulation expertise
Having signed the EuPIA Compliance Commitments document related to the manufacture and supply of food packaging inks, Xeikon and its ownership group Flint Group are fully dedicated to the principle of protecting consumer food safety. In order to stay on top of all food safety related issues, Flint Group’s dedicated Regulatory Affairs department is constantly monitoring all legislative initiatives, both regionally and globally. That way, we can make sure our technology is compliant with the most stringent of rules. Furthermore, our team is always available to offer guidance to clients regarding food safety print issues.

Filip Weyman is Vice President of Marketing for Xeikon, the digital press manufacturer that was acquired by Flint Group in 2016.

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