The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has announced new packaging regulations for food sector, which must be implemented from 1 July 2018.
FSSAI has notified new packaging regulations, which will replace all provisions of packaging requirements defined in the Food Safety and Standards (Packaging and Labelling) Regulations, 2011.
The packaging regulations were separated from the labeling regulations to recognize the significance of packaging in the food sector. A separate scientific panel is also planned to oversee food packaging.
According to the FSSAI, the primary objective of packaging is to protect the food contents from microbiological, chemical, physical and atmospheric contamination and preserve the food, enabling to protect consumer’s health.
Better packaging also enables to avoid change in sensory properties or composition of food when packed. Packaging is crucial to promote food safety, extend shelf-life and enhance food security.
The new regulation will restrict the use of packaging material made of recycled plastics, including carry bags, for packaging, storing, carrying or dispensing articles of food.
In addition, the regulations will restrict the use of newspaper and such other materials for packing or wrapping of food articles and printing inks should comply with Indian standard for use on food packages.
The regulations also determine overall migration and specific migration limits of contaminants for plastic packaging materials, in addition to general and specific requirement with respect to packaging materials.
The regulations indicate the suggestive list of packaging materials for different food product categories.
As per the regulations, the packaging materials used for packing or storing the food products should comply with the Indian Standards provided in the schedules.
The regulations are framed based on two studies carried out by FSSAI through Mumbai’s Indian Institute of Packaging (IIP) and Kolkata’s National Test House (NTH).
The studies revealed that packaging material used by the organised sector is largely safe and concerns continued about the use of packaging material by the unorganised/informal sector.
FSSAI CEO Pawan Agarwal said: “the new packaging regulations would raise the bar of food safety in India to the next level.
“He pointed out that there would be difficulties in implementation of these regulations particularly as far as they relate to the loose packaging materials and to the unorganised sector.”