Sagar Singh talks about food safety factors for inks

By 21 Nov 2022

During the Asia Coat + Ink international conference held at Hotel Courtyard by Marriott, Mumbai on 16 November, Sagar Singh, deputy director, chemical department, Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), spoke about the printing technologies — trends and issues.

Sagar Singh: Compliance to packaging inks safety norms is a legal obligation

Sagar Singh began his speech by talking about increasing the safety of the packaging. He said compliance with packaging inks safety norms is a legal obligation and the legal responsibility of safe packaging material lies with the food business operator. He shared some points for food grade packaging materials. These include not to endanger human health, no change in product composition and no change in organoleptic.

His presentation included IS 15495 revised guidelines for printing inks to be used on food packaging such as external packaging, disposables, immediate food wrappings and direct food contact.

He said, “Work is in progress to make our Indian standard IS 15495: 2020 at par with international norms by incorporating non-intentionally added substances (NIAS), mineral oil and cobalt carboxylates, benzophenone. xylene and methyl cyclohexane in flexible materials for food packaging and UV photoinitiators. 

NIAS are chemicals that are present in a food contact material (FCM) but have not been added intentionally for a technical reason during the formulation. Many NIAS can migrate from the FCM into food, but it is very difficult to completely understand and control. NIAS have various sources and can be grouped into side products, breakdown products, and contaminants.

Mineral Oil Hydrocarbons (MOH) are not a chemically well-defined substance, but a highly complex composition of various hydrocarbons. These MOH may be used intentionally during the production of food, or may unintentionally migrate into the food from packaging materials.

Benzophenone is used in personal care products such as lip balm and nail polish to protect the products from UV light. Derivatives of benzophenone, such as benzophenone-2 (BP2) and oxybenzone (benzophenone-3 or BP3) are common ingredients in sunscreen. Benzophenone is persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic (PBT). These chemicals are linked to cancer, endocrine disruption, and organ system toxicity.

Photoinitiators are compounds that produce radicals when exposed to UV light. These then react with monomers or oligomers to initiate polymer chain growth. They are essential ingredients of all UV-curable adhesives, inks and coatings.

Xylene is primarily used as a solvent in the printing, rubber, and leather industries. Along with other solvents, xylene is also widely used as a cleaning agent, a thinner for paint, and in varnishes.

Methylcyclohexane is a volatile organic compound classified as saturated hydrocarbon, it is a colourless liquid with a faint odour. Methylcyclohexane is used as a solvent. 

During his presentation, Singh also talked about BIS’s new initiatives. He said, “BIS has taken an initiative to enhance industry participation by launching a standardisation module to help the members or non-members to comment on the documents from all the sectional committees.”

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