Siegwerk India has made a note on the matter regarding the implementation of the ban on toluene for both primary as well as secondary packaging of all types in food applications that would help in increasing consumer safety in India.
Food safety is a subject that is of paramount significance and packaging has an important role to play in ensuring the safety of food. Vinay Bhardwaj, Vice President, Flexible Packaging at Siegwerk India stated as follows- “Bar on the packaging safety standards has been raised now, with implementation of toluene ban for all kinds of primary as well as secondary packaging for food applications. This ban is effective July 1, 2021, and food manufacturing companies have to ensure that revised standard IS 15495 is implemented and toluene is no longer used for food packaging inks, thereby ensuring consumer safety.”
Toluene has been restricted for use in food packaging worldwide long time back, owing to health hazards associated with its use. Bhardwaj further added – “Toluene has hazardous toxicological profile.”
Bhardwaj explained further as follows – “Exposure to toluene can occur in two different ways. One is through migration, where toluene can migrate through the packaging material into the food which is eventually consumed by the consumers. Other means is through inhalation and exposure to toluene, while handling the solvent-based inks by the operators and other workers during the printing process and subsequent conversion process.”
He further mentioned as follows – “So far, we have not come across any research that establishes any correlations between toluene and COVID-19. In today’s time, a strong immunity system is need of hour and any material which is impacting the human health will increase the exposure to COVID-19 infections. Use of toluene in packaging inks has been restricted and prohibited in different countries for years. “Hence when the revized specifications were introduced in India, we saw the big players making the transitions as the first movers and then obviously we saw the momentum building up, with more and more brand owners making that shift, thereby ensuring food safety as well as consumer safety.”
Vinay Bhardwaj concluded by mentioning as follows – “Packaging safety and food safety are integrated and removing chemical contaminants from packaging supply chain is a step in right direction. We believe that these regulations will further evolve in the years to come, further raising the bar on packaging safety and thereby ensuring stringent control on consumer safety.”