FSSAI To Issue New Regulations On Printing Ink Used In Food Packaging

The FSSAI has issued new regulations on printing ink for food packaging material which will be in place by July 2019. Kumar Anil, advisor, standards, FSSAI, made this announcement at the International Packaging Conclave, on the 28th of July at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi. He added that the FSSAI is working on the regulations, and it would take another year-and-a-half for the process to be complete.

Starting 1st July, 2019

A mandatory six-month period is given after publishing and before regulation comes into force said Anil while speaking at the Conclave. The regulations can only come into force from either 1st of July or the 1st of January. “We would be able to publish the regulations by August this year, so the date of implementation effective would be 1 July 2019,” the publication reports Anil as saying.

It has been reported that the FSSAI is in the process of drafting a regulation which will bring printing inks for food, which weren’t regulated until now, under the scope of its regulatory framework for food packaging.

FSSAI To Issue New Regulations On Printing Ink Used In Food Packaging

This regulation will refer to the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) standards for printing inks for food packaging which has a list of chemicals which should not be used in printing inks. BIS has also recommended a ban on the use of toluene in inks used in food packaging.

“A big step forward”

Partha Pratim Sanyal, independent consultant and convener at BIS panel on packaging inks during the conclave has informed the publication that the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) has decided to restrict the use of toluene, titanium acetylacetonate and phthalates in the printing of packaging materials used for food products. This was decided during an internal meeting that was conducted on the 25th of July.

“It is a big step forward by the regulatory body and will certainly push the industry to move towards healthy and safe packaging,” said Ashish Pradhan, CEO, Siegwerk India.

“Globally, toluene has earned disrepute for its bad toxicology nature and is classified CMR category 2 (suspected of damaging the unborn child). The residual toluene in packaging impacts the organoleptic properties of the product leading to food quality and safety issues. All major industry players already have toluene-free inks, hence solutions are available, and there is no reason to describe this as a challenge for the industry. It may take anywhere between six months to a year to implement this regulation,” Pradhan added.

Toxic toluene

According to him, the unfavorable toxicology properties of toluene is the reason for brands like General Mills, Nestle, Ferrero, and Wrigley’s restricting or even completely banning the use of toluene in the ink used in the packaging of their food products. Several countries including China, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan have banned the use of toluene.

“Siegwerk India is the first and only printing ink manufacturing company in India to manufacture Swiss- and Nestle-compliant toluene-free inks in a completely toluene-free environment,” the publication reported Pradhan as saying. “Siegwerk’s Bhiwandi site is now toluene-free and does not use toluene in its manufacturing facility.”

This new regulation is seen as beneficial to a wide range including brand owners, printers and consumers.