In order to strengthen regulatory framework on food contamination on account of sub-standard packaging materials, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is currently completing the process of notifying the new standards, which will also mention norms for packaging materials other than plastic – glass, paper and cardboard, metal and metal alloys.
Now, FSSAI will notify a separate regulation which will solely focus on setting norms for materials used for packaging, preparation, storage, wrapping, transportation and sale or service of food products. Earlier, packaging and labelling norms had been clubbed together under one regulation.
The sources said the food safety regulator intends to incorporate packaging standards set by BIS (Bureau of Indian Standards) in its own packaging regulations so that they become mandatory and legally-binding on the packaged food industry.
Pawan Agarwal, CEO, FSSAI (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India), while confirming that the standards would be out soon, stated that along with the standards a survey conducted by the Indian Institute of Packaging shall be released. This will help reveal the present scenario of food packaging in the country.
The new packaging regulations will also set specific migration limits for contaminants such as barium, zinc, cobalt, iron, lithium among others which are found in certain packaging materials such as plastic. Migration limits determine the maximum permitted amount of a contaminant substance leached from a material that may come in contact with food products.
The food safety regulator will also give its own recommendations for the kind of packaging that should ideally be used for storage and sale of various food commodities in the new regulations. For instance, in the case of packaging of sweetening agents such as honey, use of glass bottle with metal caps, PET containers, plastic laminated tubes and plastic-based thermoformed containers among others, are part of the draft recommendations.