Keeping a watchful eye on food protection

12.1.2016
Heli Kuorikoski

Consumers are increasingly aware of health issues in relation to both food consumption and its packaging. There is a desire for fresher and less processed food which is free from additives, whilst also being convenient and safe. High quality packaging helps supply both the convenience and the protection.

Attention has most recently turned to fluorinated compounds (PFCs). Fluorinated substances repel water and oil, and are therefore used in non-stick cookware, for instance. Likewise, some producers also add them to paper or paperboard packaging for foods. This, however, can be perceived as potentially detrimental to health, as some fluorocarbons are now recognised as potential carcinogens.

Moving away from fluorinated chemicals

In 2015, Denmark introduced voluntary guidelines to limit the use of fluorinated substances in paper packaging and food wrapping materials, and there are calls for these guidelines to receive further EU-wide legislation.

In a more recent development, the US Food & Drug Administration has now banned PFCs from food packaging, which will affect imported goods from 1 February, 2016.

Fresh forest fibre boards are clean and safe

At Metsä Board, we do not add any PFCs or their derivatives to our pulp or paperboard during the entire production process. Boards made from fresh forest fibres are naturally clean and safe, and all of the raw materials are traceable too. Boards with barrier properties produced by extrusion coating provide protection from moisture and grease, and are fully approved for direct food contact.

Packaging and food safety

Packaging is an ever more critical component in the overall food safety process.  It is important then, that the barriers in use now, or those developed in the future, do not contain fluorinated chemicals and that procedures remain in place to identify other potentially harmful substances that may enter the supply chain.

In addition, as consumers’ awareness of food safety is increasing, finding the optimal solutions for safe food packaging is an essential prerequisite for responding to the latest demanding consumer food trends.

Heli Kuorikoski
Director, Customer Projects

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