Out of all of its various uses, there are some aspects of packaging that are less commonly noticed. One of the most pressing is packaging safety standards, which has several angles being addressed within the packaging market.
One such concern is that of traceability and product safety. Food Production Daily reported smart packaging technology as one solution featuring advances including radio-frequency identification. Citing the Active and Intelligence Packaging Industry Association, the news source found that demand for these containers in industries like food production will reach a total of about $3.5 billion by 2017.
Other industries, such as the bottling and beverage industry, are also jumping on board. A Michigan-based technology provider called eAgile, together with these industries, developed eSeal, a packaging technology expected to be used on food cartons, beverage bottles and similar containers.
The expectation of eSeal is to promote and incorporate the following advances:
- product safety
- temperature tracking
- inform users of spoilage
- fight fraud
“Consumers and governments are demanding proof of safe and authentic products,” said Gary Burns, the company CEO. “Our RFID-enabled caps and shrink seals allow manufacturers to achieve compliance while protecting the integrity of their brand.” rms and supply chain players an easier way to verify that their products are authentic and safe. The products’ tags also have unique IDs for better tracking information complete with new visual information. They’re also easy to incorporate with minimal necessary changeover.
“As RFID devices become more prevalent, product-specific safety information will be provided directly to consumers at the point of purchase, in real time, using their smartphones,” added Peter Phaneuf, eAgile president.
“Consumers and governments are demanding proof of safe and authentic products”
Packaging safety standards inspects inside the box
Food Magazine Australia added that there may be more problems in the market, some of which directly involve the safety of food packaging itself. Nanomaterials may soon be used in packaging builds. Nanomaterials are used to extend food’s shelf life, cut down on potential microbes inside it and allow for better information on when the food itself expires. There are however, environmental and health-related concerns pushing some organizations to be concerned about its potential uses.
Environmental organization, Friends of the Earth, has called for better regulatory practices in this industry. Organization campaigner Jeremy Tager stated in the Sydney Morning Herald that he believes nanomaterials in packaging can potentially leech into food, causing damage to consumers. As a result his organization is pushing for a more proactive approach to regulation in packaging.
Tager cited a recent study, which found that four-fifths of food and packaging companies surveyed by Food Standards Australia and New Zealand said that packaging rules were alternatively “inadequate,” “minimalistic at best” and “largely irrelevant,” adding that the industry itself needs more legislative requirements in regards to the safety of unknown or emerging materials used in packaging styles over time.
FSANZ noted their awareness of concerns about the potential of chemical migration. It launched a new review of existing legislation and plans to monitor and conduct its own research into the use of these nanomaterials.
Packaging safety standards remain important as some companies falter
Having these concerns early in the packaging development process rather than later can have major effects on the long-term adoption of a company’s products.
In-Pharma Technologist found a clear example of that. Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories was recently accused of violating packaging rules meant to childproof its products by the US Government’s Consumer Product Safety Commission which could potentially result in major problems for its financial future.
Specifically, the CPSC wants civil penalties from Reddy’s, saying that the company sold prescription drugs in unit dose packaging for five years that failed to comply with safety regulations meant to keep products child-resistant. The accused violations of the Poison Prevention Packaging Act, as well as the absence of general certificates of conformance, have the potential to harm the company’s long-term market effectiveness. Additionally, the company has been accused of violating the Consumer Product Safety Act by neglecting to immediately file about the violations.
Dr. Reddy’s has denied the allegations in a recent US stock exchange filing last week, noting that an unfavorable result to the company’s reports could eventually cause major liability concerns and an adverse effect on its finances in the future.
The Position Prevention Packaging Act was first put into place in 1970 and requires hazardous household substances to be nearly inaccessible for children under five to open “within a reasonable time,” the news source said. Under current law, these drugs can be dispensed in non-child-resistant packaging, however, but only under specific request of a doctor or patient.
Multiple companies have already made changes to packaging procedures to better follow consumer safety rules, including Pfizer stopping production of a thyroid drug and Penn Pharma recalling a seizure treatment.