Canadian Packaging

Is your packaging safe?

By Cheryl Sullivan   

Food Safety Coding & Labeling Plastic Amcor IFS PACsecure International Featured Standards (IFS) International Paper PAC Packaging Consortium Safe Food for Canadians U.S. Food Safety Modernization Act

Ensuring products are safe and have accurate labels begins with proper certifications

Nobody wants to deal with a market recall due to contaminated or mislabelled products. Recalls are disruptive, expensive, damaging to a company’s reputation, and worse yet, they put consumers at risk.

Having a good and reliable certification helps to provide your customers with safe packaging. Foodborne illness is a significant concern with an increasing number of tainted food incidences being reported over the past decade.

Now that brand owners, food processors, and importers are fully responsible for ensuring safe products, they need to know their suppliers are providing supplies that meet their requirements.

In the event of a recall, companies must be able to trace the product back through the entire supply chain to find the source of the issue. They can then ensure corrective measures are put in place to prevent a reoccurrence.

Investigations into these incidents have revealed risks throughout the entire food supply system, including packaging.

Packaging related issues can be from biological, chemical, or physical contamination and also from allergen mislabelling.

While packaging presents a lower health risk to consumers than ingredients, unsafe packaging can result in product recalls and business disruptions.

Moldy pallets, contaminated jars, dead rodents, foreign materials, and chemical migration have all resulted in consumer injury, business interruptions, and lost sales.

To avoid the issue of cross contamination, food companies need their packaging materials to arrive free from hazards. It is also important that the packaging is traceable should there be a need to investigate a complaint.

Contamination is not the only concern. The leading cause for market recalls is allergen mislabelling, most often as a result of a missing item on the ingredient list.

However, there is also the risk of packing a product into the wrong container.

When this happens, mislabelled products with allergens can potentially cause illness and even death.

Packaging suppliers can implement measures to ensure printed containers are not mixed and that their packaging is labeled correctly.

They can do this by practicing line clearance procedures involving the removal of printed packaging from the production line prior to setting up the next order.

They should have checks in place to ensure the outer label accurately reflects the printed packages.

Fortunately, there are safety standards available for packaging companies.

These certifications include good manufacturing practices and safety protocols that, when implemented and performed consistently, eliminate or greatly reduce risks.

The IFS PACsecure, certification, recognized globally and approved by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI), is a standard developed by PAC Packaging Consortium to meet the unique production requirements of the packaging industry.

This standard, managed by International Featured Standards (IFS), is risk-based and non-prescriptive allowing companies to determine the hazards within their operations and implement preventative controls that meet their specific needs.

Major international suppliers such as International Paper and Amcor have selected IFS PACsecure because it is recognized globally throughout the supply chain as a reliable product safety certification

Now that the Safe Food for Canadians and the U.S. Food Safety Modernization Act have been implemented, food companies recognize the urgency to be diligent by choosing suppliers that have implemented controls to ensure product safety.

As packaging is an integral part of the supply chain, it is imperative it is manufactured from safe materials, and is produced, stored, handled, and transported in a manner that ensures product integrity. IFS PACsecure
certification provides this assurance.


– Cheryl Sullivan is an IFS marketing represenative based in Vanocuver, who can be reached on any topic related to IFS PACsecure certification via email at


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