Hygiene and safety are important in the new normal

Hygiene and safety are important in the new normal

​​Due to the coronavirus pandemic, we are all more aware of the importance of good hygiene. This also affects how we look at food products and packaging. In fact, packaging has taken on a completely new meaning during the past year.


Nobody wants the food we consume to become contaminated before it reaches us. We expect the packaging of the food we buy to be responsible, clean and safe, no matter if purchased in a local shop or online. In exceptional situations, such as now during the coronavirus pandemic, people increasingly yearn for safety. After all, there have been news reports, for example, on how long the coronavirus can survive on the surface of various packaging materials. It is good to remember that for paperboard, that period is shorter than for plastic.

This makes good packaging options increasingly important in our daily choices. They protect food against impurities and are manufactured in a controlled manner. When the paperboard for food packaging has been manufactured under the same hygiene standards as the food itself, and nobody handles the paperboard physically before the end product is packaged, the paperboard package remains fully uncontaminated.

Throughout the packaging chain, we need to be aware of consumers' concerns and inform them of safety matters. Mineral oil migration in packages made from recycled materials came to public notice already at the beginning of the millennium, but is still a relevant topic. Mineral oils are harmful substances that are transmitted to packaged food from chemical residues remaining in recycled paperboard, such as printing inks. The risk has been found to be significant in recycled paperboard, but does not apply to fresh fibre paperboard— consumers must be made aware of this issue so they are able to make an informed choice.  

Fresh fibre paperboard is thus pure to start with, but in addition to the safety of our end products we are responsible for the safety of the entire supply chain. We achieve this through precise logistics instructions and audits, as well as frequent communication with paperboard converters and brand owners.

The coronavirus pandemic will pass at some point, but I believe it will permanently change our behaviour. Hygiene and reliability will probably be increasingly important factors in our purchasing decisions. The exceptional situation has certainly made many people appreciate more their health and also steady and safe everyday life. Comfortably predictable living involves quite simple things, such as being able to trust in the cleanliness of our food.

Helena Moring-Vepsäläinen

Helena Moring-Vepsäläinen
Product Safety Manager
Metsä Board

Related articles