Food – Safe Adhesives for Food and Beverage Packaging

We live in a world of Adhesives. Adhesives are used in almost every item we use or see around us, every day. While most of these items are not consumables, yet there are many applications where adhesive is used along with edible items, the most widely used being the Packaging of Food items, directly, more often indirectly.
The End User’s and Convertor’s main concern while consuming packed food products, is to know whether the food is safe. Several ingredients contribute in the making of packaging – Films, Boards, Adhesives, varnishes and so on. All of these ingredients have a role to play on Food safety. The food or content should be as safe as the ingredients used in manufacturing the packaging item.

Adhesive for food and beverages packaging

Physical Contact of Adhesive with Food

It has been estimated that Industrial Adhesives constitutes less than five percent of the total structure of the final pack. In some of the packaging such as Glass Bottles where adhesive may be used in labels or outer cartons, there is no physical contact of adhesive with Food material whereas in most packs like Liner cartons, Mono cartons, Flex packs etc, the contact is Indirect.

Cartons packaging

Regulations for Food Safety in Packaging

In order to make Food Packaging safe, all the inputs going into the making of Food packaging should comply to the use of ingredients in manufacturing these items. In addition, there should be a plan to minimise the migration of chemicals. Migration is the transfer of substances from the Packaging to its content and vice versa. Migration becomes critically important factor for Packaging of Food & Pharmaceutical items which could affect the efficacy of the ingredients. For example, the polymers or the additives used in manufacturing of Paper and Adhesives that constitute a paper straw, should not migrate in the liquid while using a paper straw.

Beverages packaging

The Food Contact Regulations which widely govern the design of various ingredients are:
A) US FDA – Code of Federal Regulations, Title 21, Part 170 to 190 (CFR 21, 170 – 190)
• FDA 176.170 (Paper board)
• FDA 175.105 (Adhesives)
B) European Food Contact Legislation
C) FSSAI – Food Safety and Standard Authority of India
The USFDA regulation 175.105 for adhesives specifies the type and controls the use of polymers and chemicals which go in its manufacturing along with its limits of usage. Thus, a properly designed adhesive formulation makes the food safe as it does not contain chemicals not permitted by the USFDA guidelines. The major chemicals of concern are Heavy Metals, Bisphenol, Phthalates, Phenolic compounds etc.

Food packaging

All these are factored in for Pidilite’s Industrial Adhesive range, during the design stage based on end application and usage for Water Based and Hotmelt Adhesives. Flagship products- Fevicol CPW, Fevicol 2000 L, Fevicol 3000 L, among others, apart from being FDA Compliant, also being run on high-speed machines for production and are compatible with various Boards and Films.
European Union Legislation through its various regulation framework suggests the use of specified ingredients, good manufacturing practices, capable R&D facilities, Quality Control and Assurance practices for Water-based and Hot melt packaging adhesives.

Quality Standards & Parameters for Food Packaging

The European Union main Regulation 1935/2004 covers, by its Annexure, guidelines for Food Contact material like Paper and Board, Adhesives, Printing inks, Plastics and so on. The Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) Regulation (EC) 2023/2006 is relevant to all the Food contact Materials (FCM) during manufacturing, processing and distribution of materials. Thus, GMP applies to all Converting companies and the suppliers of all their input material.
Pidilite’s Manufacturing plants supplying industrial adhesives for Paper Conversions are ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001 certified. Most of the manufacturing plants are DCS controlled automated plants which prevent manual intervention to make these adhesives Compliant to various international norms.
As compliant to various GMP norms we have a full-fledged inhouse quality assurance capability to test various chemicals by advanced and latest equipment/instruments namely
• GC -MS /GC – FID
• EDXRF
• FTIR
• DSC

Quality testing for packaging

These are apart from regular quality control equipment at all our manufacturing locations. All these infrastructures help us ensure that we make and supply products which comply with stringent norms for industrial adhesives.
To sum up Food safety depends on all components which contribute to the construction of final packaging. Adhesives, although a small component, is key for productivity on high-speed machines, enhances aesthetics, provides bond and withstands wide range of temperatures. In addition, adhesives should comply to various norms of FDA/EU and should not give migration above specified limits.
Pidilite Industries with its state-of-the-art infrastructure, has range of products for various Food packaging applications which are in line with these compliances. Pidilite is the leading adhesive supplier.

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