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A toast to our health

It’s summer time and the quality of the air we breathe and the water we drink is giving cause for concern again.

We’ve witnessed tragic deaths from Legionnaires’ Disease in Barrow-in-Furness and widespread sickness through contaminated water supplies in Glasgow.

Both of these vital elements of human life are heavily regulated, yet once again the health of people is being jeopardised by human error or failure to act quickly enough. The suffering of people affected by such incidents gives great cause for concern.

At the same time, it is easy to forget that billions of items of food are being safely consumed every single day. This is due in considerable part to the beneficial and protective attributes of the packaging in which they arrive.

This should be a cause for considerable celebration by the packaging industry. The application of science and technology to the myriad different requirements of food stuffs, whether it is the product itself or the area from which it comes, has led to an enormous sophistication of materials and packs purpose-designed to protect the safety of the consumer.

Traditionalists and many so-called environmentalists argue that too much packaging is unnecessary and expensive but their opinion does not hold up in the face of these considerations.

The idea that we should return to the days when products were sold in a twist of old newspaper or carried away loose in a reusable wicker basket is nonsense and should be stamped on once and for all.

The world is too big and the needs of our ever-growing population too great to ignore the major leaps being taken in food production and packaging. The risks of contamination and disease are not an option.

Our good health now relies on properly conceived, well researched and carefully produced packaging and anyone who says otherwise can save their breath for the day when they may need it.