A Serious Start of 2012 – A White, a Green Paper, a Guidance and a Protocol

The last months of 2011 have seen some serious publications about Food Safety and Packaging, as well as Packaging and Sustainability. I selected the 4 most important to show for further study here.

The time of frolicking around is over. The last month of 2011, I wrote several articles about fancy and exclusive packaging designs. I still have some left, but that’s for the end of this month. The New Year started and it is time to go back to serious business.

The last months of 2011 have seen some serious publications about Food Safety and Packaging, as well as Packaging and Sustainability. I selected the 4 most important to show for further study here:
1.    A complimentary white paper which provides an overview of the Food Safety Management Systems and Food Packaging Design and Manufacture Standards: ISO 22000, PAS 223 AND FSSC 22000. The white paper is written by SGS, the world’s leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company.

2.    The European Commission (EC) published a guidance on active and intelligent (A&I) food packaging to help industry, professionals and national authorities understand and implement the underlying legislation passed two years ago.
3.    A Green Paper on Packaging and Sustainability, published by EuroPen. A result from a broad stakeholder consultation on the topic of Packaging and Sustainability. The paper concludes that packaging should be seen as part of the solution in achieving a resource efficient society.
4.    And finally the Consumer Goods Forum released the Global Protocol on Packaging Sustainability (GPPS) to enable the consumer goods industry to better assess the relative sustainability of packaging.

Let’s look at the publications in detail. I included links so that you can download the publications (in pdf), if they are of interest to you. But first some excerpts.

First the white paper: Overview of the Food Safety Management Systems and Food Packaging Design and Manufacture Standards: ISO 22000, PAS 223 AND FSSC 22000
This white paper written by Supreeya Sansawat (Global Food Business Manager, SGS) and John Terry (Global Product Manager, Food Supply Chain Assurance SGS) is a discussion about the relevant standards ISO 22000, PAS 223 and FSSC 22000.
The document aims to provide an overview of these standards and discusses how the food packaging industry came together to develop PAS 223 ‘Pre-requisite Programmes and Design Requirements for Food Safety in the Manufacture and Provision of Food Packaging’ and how
PAS 223, coupled with ISO 22000 now forms the Food Safety Systems Certification (FSSC) 22000 standard for food packaging.
Within the context of food packaging it explains issues such as the potential migration of harmful chemicals or other contaminants to the food and the potential dangers associated with increased use of recycled materials and mislabelled products.

This 16-page white paper (click the title or the image at the side to download the document in pdf) handles, apart from Packaging and Food Safety, the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) Benchmarking for Food Packaging and an Overview of ISO 22000 and PAS 223, a discussion combining Food Packaging Safety Schemes with those related to the Environment, Health and Safety and Quality Control.

Secondly we have seen the EU Guidance to the Commission Regulation (EC) No 450/2009 of 29 May 2009 on active and intelligent materials and articles intended to come into contact with food.
The Framework Regulation (EC) 1935/20048 allows the introduction of active and intelligent packaging on the European market. This Regulation states that food contact materials shall not transfer constituents to food in quantities, which could endanger human health, bring about an unacceptable change in the composition and bring about deterioration in organoleptic characteristics thereof (Article 3).

The guidance defines an active packaging as a type of food packaging with an extra function, in addition to that of providing a protective barrier against external influence. Active packaging is intended to influence the packed food. The packaging absorbs food-related chemicals from the food or the environment within the packaging surrounding the food; or it releases substances into the food or the environment surrounding the food such as preservatives, antioxidants, flavourings, etc.

An intelligent packaging provides the user with information on the conditions of the food. In contrary to active components, intelligent components do not have the intention to release their constituents into the food. The intelligent component may be positioned on the outer surface of the package and may be separated from the food by a functional barrier. The functional barrier concept is explained in the guidance.

This EU guidance, which is an evolving document and will be updated to further clarify aspects related to the implementation of this legislation, gives definitions and examples, handles legal aspects in relation to the authorisation of active or intelligent substances or components, contains the EU list of substances that may be used in active or intelligent components and has a questions and answers section related to the risk assessment and authorisation procedure.

To read the full 26-pages document, click the title or the image at the side (downloading in pdf)

The third publication I advise my readers to consult is a Green Paper – Packaging and Sustainability – An open dialogue between stakeholders, published by EuroPen.
Europen, with its slogan “The Voice of Industry for Packaging and the Environment”, is a pan-European cross-sectoral industry and trade body dedicated exclusively to this subject. In November 2011 they published a green paper as result of an open dialogue between stakeholders on packaging’s role in society. Representatives of environmental NGO’s, the European Commission, The World Business Council for Sustainable Development, retailers and retailer trade associations and Europen corporate members were among stakeholders involved in shaping and endorsing the contents of the Green Paper.

The Green Paper is predicated on the initial, common sense position that packaging is a necessary element in the functioning of our economy. In this context, the document sets out to re-examine the core questions about the place that packaging plays in the drive towards sustainable production and consumption. The contributors to this paper hope that it will provide a way of addressing and understanding the challenges that are involved in choosing how goods should be packaged.
In particular, this paper provides some answers to the varied questions that must be asked in order to attain the ‘Optimum Packaging Design’, with the lowest possible environmental impact. To support the decision-making process, seven key considerations around the areas of material selection, design, consumer choice, production, use, end-of-life and innovative business models were identified and discussed.

The full 16-page Green Paper can be downloaded in pdf by clicking the title or the image at the side.

The last document I want to attract your attention to is the Global Protocol on Packaging Sustainability (GPPS).
By its nature packaging is very visible and in a world of scarce resources it is something that attracts the attention of consumers, the media and environmentalists. They often challenge the industry to address it. And of course the industry has a responsibility to review and optimize the environmental performance of the packaging it uses with respect to all relevant life cycle stages.
Finding the balance between under-packaging and over-packaging is the aim for all businesses.

That’s why the Consumer Goods Forum published the First Global Measurement System for Packaging Sustainability to enable the consumer goods industry to better assess the relative sustainability of packaging. The Consumer Goods Forum is sponsored by two of the organisation’s board members: Philip Clarke, CEO of Tesco and Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever.

The aim of the Protocol is to help companies reduce the environmental impact of their packaging by providing a common language to address a range of business questions about packaging sustainability either within a company or between business partners. That common language consists of a framework and a measurement system. The framework entitled A Global Language for Packaging Sustainability was first published in June 2010. The metrics presented in the Protocol published today deliver the measurement system.

In this case, if you are interested and as a matter of fact, you must be, there are 3 pdf’s to download.
The Framework : A global language for Packaging and Sustainability
Global Protocol on Packaging Sustainability (GPPS)
Questions & Answers: Frequently asked questions about the GPPS 2.0

Click the titles or the images to download the pdf.

Reading these reports mentioned here is a real good start of 2012.

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