The Packaging Association of Canada (PAC) strongly believes that its PACsecure food safe packaging material standards are the most comprehensive ever developed for the packaging industry anywhere in the world.
The standards, which are based on the international protocol long used by the global food and beverage industry Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP), were developed over the past six years in conjunction with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and more than 100 packaging converters, their suppliers and customers. Most recently they received approval from the U.S.-based Food Safety Alliance for Packaging.
The Food Safety Alliance for Packaging includes organizations such as General Mills, Kraft, Nestlé, Conagra Foods, Unilever, Sara Lee and Campbell Soup – some of which were involved in the development of the standards. A number of its members reviewed the PACsecure standards at a workshop held in the Chicago suburb of Rosemount, Ill. last June.
Preventative and process driven
PACsecure standards are a systematic and preventative approach to food safety that addresses biological, chemical and physical hazards through preventative action rather than by finished product inspection. They are used to identify potential food safety hazards so that steps can be taken to reduce or eliminate the risks.
Because it is process driven, we also needed to develop separate standards for each different type of packaging material, including flexible plastics, rigid plastics, paper, metal and glass packaging. This also necessitated bringing the HACCP process right down to the plant floor – taking the guesswork out for each individual packaging conversion operation.
Although the PACsecure standards are voluntary, we expect they will become the cornerstone of the package converting industry and the basis for due diligence obligations when it comes to food safety for packaging. It’s obvious that the need for this type of due diligence for packaging materials is just as important to food processors as it is for packaging converters supplying the materials, as evidenced by the recent number of food safety incidents across North America and resulting court cases.
In addition to the standards, PAC has created a generic common sense prerequisite program frequently referred to as good manufacturing practices (GMPs), covering premise, transportation (including receiving and storage), equipment, personnel program, sanitation and pest control, and a recall traceability program.