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“Bio-packs” get OK in Japan

Japanese shoppers will soon be able to buy their favourite salads, fish, meats, bakery goods and produce in "100% nature-based" transparent containers following the food contact approval granted by the country's authorities to Cargill Dow's NatureWorks PLA corn-starch based biopolymer.

The material, produced by breaking down grain starches into natural sugars, then used to make plastic, recently received positive listing as a new base polymer on the Self-Restrictive Requirements on Food-Contacting Articles from the Japanese Hygienic Olefin and Styrene Plastics Association (JHOSPA). Cargill says Japanese consumers are showing increasing enthusiasm for buying products in non-fossil fuel-based packaging.

It is expected packaging will be on Japanese shelves by this autumn.