A peak behind a rarely acknowledged aspect of food storage and transportation.
The food we eat has to remain free of contamination and spoilage as we consume it each day. This means the containers that protect our vegetables, chips, and beverages must be of high-quality and rigorously tested.
To maintain their integrity, these packages must maintain their integrity against heat, microwave radiation, and dishwashing. Suppliers, distributors and manufacturers rely on quality control measures to avoid costly recalls and maintain a good reputation. For example, companies must ensure the ink they use on their packaging isn’t harmful.
Finding out your product contains undeclared allergens, stones, glass, bones, or toxic chemicals like phthalates can be devastating. These can cause myriad health problems such as reproductive harm, endocrine disruption, anaphylaxis, cancers, and death.
Kraft Foods had to recall 36,000 cases of Kraft Singles produced in 2015. Strips of the plastic wrapping could stick to the cheese itself and cause a person to choke. In 2010, Kellogg’s recalled 28 million boxes of Corn Pops, Apple Jacks, and Honey Smacks after a chemical leached out of the bags and sickened consumers.
Labeling is also important because of allergens and dietary needs. Plaintiffs have even brought suits against pet food manufacturers. Congress has added sesame to the list of allergens that food companies must disclose on their packaging. In 2020, the Food and Drug Administration warned Whole Foods Market over its recalls due to allergens. Some items contained undeclared eggs or milk.
Supply chain compliance firm QIMA says it can provide expert quality control in food packaging to help ensure your product is safe. They can test ceramicware and glassware, sports bottles and travel mugs, children’s feeding sets, silver-plated ware, and a host of other items. According to its website, QIMA can perform tests for volatile organic compounds, heavy metals, and impurities and byproducts, among other problems.
Testing will also ensure your packaging meets various international safety standards, including food safety and sanitation laws in China and Japan and chemical limits in the United States and Canada. QIMA says it can have an inspector on-site within 48 hours and provide a report from its fully accredited labs the same day. The company works with businesses in over 120 countries in North and South America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.
“The quality of food containers has a direct impact on the condition and safety of food stored and packaged inside them,” QIMA says, adding that the company offers “the best in client service and technical guidance.”
Testers use X-rays to detect problems in end packaging and alert the operation to defective units. They can check for deviations from normal product density and ensure packages don’t leak and contaminate food products. Cameras can compare products using special software. Other methods include magnets, scanners, and lighting systems that can illuminate defects.
Companies should also implement a biological program to limit pathogens in packaging. This can include monitoring ambient facility atmosphere, ensuring personal health and sanitation, and examining surfaces that may come in contact with the product.