Safety begins with raw materials
Optimal use of both natural fibres and chemical raw materials is crucial when producing a safe paperboard. One of the advantages for Metsä Board is that the whole chain from forest, via pulp mill, to board mill is owned by our parent company Metsä Group. This is how we know exactly what our paperboards are made of. All wood raw material comes from controlled, traceable and third party verified sources located in sustainably managed Northern European forests. The use of fresh fibres from these controlled sources guarantees that our pulp does not contain unknown chemicals, which is not the case with recycled materials. Only safe and carefully selected chemicals are used in production. Each of them is evaluated according to relevant global legislation, for example food contact regulations. Health & safety and environmental aspects are also carefully reviewed.
Manufacturing hygienic and safe paperboard
Metsä Board products are manufactured in accordance with good manufacturing practice (GMP) and all Metsä Board mills work according to a certified ISO 22000 Food Safety Management System. Metsä Board mills have evaluated their food safety hazards with a HACCP (Hazard analysis and critical control points) tool, which is widely used in the food industry. To prevent recognised hazards in advance Metsä Board mills have defined preventive programmes that cover the whole production chain. These programmes cover raw materials, and include for example hygiene areas and rules, microbe control, pest control and controlled maintenance. In addition to our own operations, a proper hygiene level is also required from Metsä Board’s suppliers and subcontractors to ensure that paperboards are protected against contamination in every phase of the supply chain.
Tested to be safe
Packaging materials intended to be in direct contact with foodstuffs are subject to a number of global and local regulations. Metsä Board ensures food safety by strict compliance with regulatory requirements that are applicable in relevant market areas, for example Europe, US or Asia. To ensure the quality and safety of Metsä Board products, tests regarding the chemical properties and microbiological purity are conducted regularly. Metsä Board products are also subject to sensorial examination for odour and taint. All products are tested according to global legislation in accredited external laboratories. The analysis together with an internal risk assessment form the basis for the Declaration of Compliance, which is included in a Product Safety Statement, a document available for our customers and specifically created for each individual Metsä Board product to describe their product safety status.
Among other products, Metsä Board provides extrusion coated paperboard products specifically designed for food service applications. Polyethylene (PE) is used as a barrier polymer to provide water and moisture resistance for the paperboard. PE coated products go through the same compliance evaluation process as the paperboards - from raw materials to the customer. Additionally, PE coated products must fulfil specific legal requirements, including further testing.
Protecting the packaged goods
To ensure the safety of our products, they need to be transported to the converter in packaging that keeps the content clean and dry and does not have any effect to the product. All packaging materials used by Metsä Board are compliant to direct food contact and designed to protect the product from contamination risks during transportation. We do close co-operation with our logistics suppliers and audit regularly the logistics partners storage facilities to ensure that the risks of contamination are under control throughout the logistics chain. We transport our products only in vehicles, vessels and containers that are clean and free of odours, which is a strict requirement to all our logistics chain service providers. By close co-operation with our partners we continuously improve the safety throughout the journey from mills to users.
Better converting with consistent quality
Metsä Board products offer consistent quality and are therefore an optimum choice for various converting processes. Products are safe to be processed, as they do not contain any foreign objects and are strictly monitored for inconsistencies. Metsä Board products do not affect the safety of converting processes and they maintain their excellent product safety properties throughout the converting stage when handled properly.
During the Metsä Board product design process customer requirements and the desirable properties for specific end uses are taken into consideration. The best suitable solution is chosen for each application, for example food packaging, toys, cosmetics or electronics. Metsä Board helps the brand owner to enhance its brand image with high-quality and consistent boards for globally used applications. Metsä Board paperboard is a strong packaging material with excellent visual properties. Strong packaging stays in shape throughout the whole transportation and storage chain and protects the product inside the packaging, resulting in less waste.
Ensuring safe food contact
Safe on the shelves, at homes – and on the go. The most important function of packaging is to keep the consumer safe. With our pure and sustainable paperboards, the consumer feels that "this packaging will not harm me, my family or the environment". The packaged goods will taste and smell like they are meant to, and no harmful substances are released from the paperboards. This makes fresh fibres the safest choice of fibre packaging for sensitive end uses like direct food contact.
Value creation after use
All Metsä Board paperboards are biodegradable, compostable and recyclable, depending on local recycling services. Fresh fibre is needed in the recycling loop, for example in Europe the manufacture of recycled paper would stop within six months without incoming fresh fibre. Metsä Board PE coated products can be recycled depending on the country and local collection system. They can also be incinerated for energy. The carbon footprint of Metsä Board paperboard or PE coated paperboard product is on average half of that of a similar plastic product.