Responsibilities within the Supply Chain

Application of ink by the printer and verification of packaging compliance

Ink manufacturers can certify the suitability of an ink series for food packaging applications, but they cannot warrant the legal compliance of the final printed packaging. Many other parameters have an influence on compliance, such as for example the substrate used, the printing and converting process, the type of food packed and the storage conditions at all stages. In order to avoid problems arising from an improper use of ink, it is very important that all parties involved in the printing and packaging process collaborate (brand owner <> converter/printer <> ink manufacturer). The first step, to clearly define the packaging specifications, is usually within the responsibility of the food industry.

The manufacturer of the packaging and the filler are responsible for the properties of the food packaging and its compliance with legal requirements. The packaging ink suppliers are responsible for the composition of the formulations. Due to the complex nature of the packaging chain, all members have to exchange relevant information.

Under GMP Regulation (EC) No 2023/2006 and its Annex, which only refers to the application of printing inks to the non-food contact side of a material or article and to the storage of printed articles, the ink manufacturer does not have an independent responsibility in this regard, however, the converter who actually applies the ink or coating is responsible for compliance with this regulation.

As an example, the Indian Standard IS 15495 is similarly clear about the responsibility of the printer. It states: “The responsibility of the printer and the converter is to ensure that the food packages are manufactured and stored in such a manner by which any preventable transfer of material from the ink or coating to the food contents is avoided, even if such transfer is unobjectionable on the grounds of health, odour and flavour.”

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Application of ink by the printer and verification of packaging compliance
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Related topics that might interest you

For further information on food packaging regulation processes, please also check out our articles on the topics “Brand Owner Management“ and “The 6 Steps and Responsibilities for Safe Food Packaging“.