US IPS Testing, an independent testing laboratory, has developed a series of new screening methods to perform testing of packaging in direct food contact, in response to the increased scrutiny and global regulations surrounding food safety and packaging.
The new methods address standards and allow companies to monitor their own food packaging production and their vendors, as well as delivering results at a lower cost.
IPS Testing president Bruce Shafer said that regulations worldwide are observing the safety of the inks, adhesives and other chemicals that are used in manufacturing food packaging, which continues to be a very strong sector within the paper industry.
"These standardised procedures rely on the use of food simulants to assess the movement of contaminants from the packaging into the food," Shafer said.
Designed to evaluate new suppliers and the development of new packaging products and processes, the screenings use gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GCMS) methods to make sure that the products and raw materials used in packaging are safe for direct food contact.
IPS Testing will also perform heavy metal analysis for compliance with programmes such as Coalition of Northeastern Governors (CONEG), in order to ensure food packaging safety further.
According to IPC, global sourcing is another factor in the equation of food packaging safety, which has delivered lower costs to manufacturers, but has also tightened supply chain management.
"We often have clients who have worked in good faith to use materials that are safe for food contact, but through testing, contaminants are sometimes exposed," Shafer added.
IPS Testing serves as a testing laboratory for industries including, paper, pulp and print materials, nonwovens; medical supplies, personal care and absorbent products, food packaging, and allied industries.