Packaging Standards Activate Food Safety Successes

Posted: Tuesday, June 13, 2017 by Global Food Safety Resource

By Jaan Koel

Packaging has advanced by leaps and bounds over the last decade and we all benefit, especially when it comes to food safety. If you’ve ever suffered a food-borne illness, it was unlikely the result of a packaging failure. Although food illnesses are reported more frequently because of on-line and other immediate media opportunities, food is getting safer all the time, thanks in large part to better methods of food processing, and better food packaging.

The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) originally applied to food manufacturing facilities. Now it applies to most companies that manufacture food-contact packaging as well, under the following sections: inspection of records; sanitary transport; mandatory recall authority; administrative detention; foreign supplier verification, and employee (whistleblower) protection.


FSMA is legislation driven by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Retailers have responded by mandating suppliers of food and packaging to obtain certification to the standards of various third-party food safety auditing schemes. The pressure for suppliers to do so is strong now, and will only get stronger in the future.

They all share the same fundamental value of ensuring food safety and protecting public health. Here are some examples:

IFS PACsecure

The IFS PACsecure program is an alliance between IFS, an accredited certification body of Paris-based Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) and the PAC Packaging Coalition in Toronto, Canada. The IFS PACsecure standards were developed in conjunction with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and a broad spectrum of industry representatives. They apply to flexible plastics packaging materials, rigid plastics, paper-based packaging, glass, and metal packaging.

These standards were developed by a steering committee comprised of representatives of more than 100 companies and organizations, including a number of major North American food companies, along with packaging companies, government food agencies, suppliers of plastic resins, paper, metal and glass, and suppliers of inks, dyes, adhesives.

FSSC 22000

Programs such as IFS PACsecure and others, like FSSC 22000, protect human health, first and foremost, as well as the bottom line. FSSC 22000 is a Food Safety System Certification scheme based on ISO 22000 international standards and ISO TS 22002-4 for packaging. It requires established documented food safety management system processes to manage food safety throughout an organization—from management and business planning aspects to day-to-day communication and operations affecting food safety.


The British Retail Consortium (BRC) was founded in 1996 by retailers who wanted to harmonize food safety standards across the supply chain. In 2016, BRC was acquired by the LCG Group, a leading international life sciences measurement and testing company. BRC has 25,000 certificated sites in over 130 countries, 1,750 auditors, and an annual 92% site renewal rate.

Basic Guidelines

According to FSC PACsecure, there are 24 common manufacturing processes used in producing packaging materials—including six for flexible plastics, three for rigid plastics, three for paper, 11 for metal containers, one for glass, and others for composites. The complexities of each are important to understand and observe. Certifying to these standards will ensure your business is contributing in a substantial way to protecting consumer health and safety.

About the Author

Jaan Koel is a respected food safety writer with a substantial portfolio developed over many years of front line writing experience. He began contributing to GFSR six years ago and is a regular contributor to other industry leading business-to-business publications. Aside from his expertise in the area of article writing, he has developed a strong credibility writing in the areas of corporate communications, public relations, government communications and marketing.


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