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Packaging components in bakery must meet regulatory issues
Saturday, 29 August, 2020, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Norina Fernandes
Bakeries are the source of our unique wheat/refined wheat-based food. Food products during storage are subject to changes, resulting in adverse e?ects on quality, ranging from minor sensory defects to total spoilage. The shelf life of food, de?ned as the period of time during which quality losses do not exceed a tolerated level, can be decisively in?uenced by its packaging.

The first element in a product packaging is to consider how it is defined; it can be a product or a separate group entirely, depending on the perspective of the regulatory agency. The second key element is the ingredients—from a labelling perspective. The last key element is the packaging component itself—the bottle, tube, vial, carton, plastic sleeve and so on. Many innovative product packaging ideas, shapes, styles, and materials have been developed, however the packaging components must meet regulatory issues.

Bakery products are widely consumed and therefore particular requirements for their quality characteristics have been established. Especially for bread, shape, colour and texture are important for consumers. Its shelf life is mainly limited by microbial spoilage and staling. Bread after baking is free of viable moulds and bacteria, but some bacterial spores can survive the baking process or contamination can occur before packaging is completed. Recently, in order to achieve longer shelf life for bakery products, refrigerating conditions are employed to prebake or not dough’s, as well as new technologies in packaging are investigated.

As per food safety helpline, there are more than 2,000 organised or semi-organised bakeries producing around 1.3 million tonne of the bakery products and 1,000,000 unorganised small-scale bakeries producing 1.7 million tonne.

Hygienic practices and technology
Bread and biscuits are the most popular bakery items and account for 80% of the total market. Key issues that the industry is facing include the need for improvements in hygienic practices as well as technology apart from the availability of skilled manpower at all levels of bakery operations.
The overall premise for packaging regulations which have been developed by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is that the packaging material does not contaminate the food product and does not impart any type of off-flavour or off-odour to the product. The regulations are based on knowing the composition of the packaging material and how that particular composition may or will interact when in contact with different types of foods and used in different applications. There are regulations that indicate what can be used in terms of both polymers and additives to the packaging materials.

There are multiple regulations in different categories that are pertinent to microwave packaging. One general regulation concerns those compounds that are termed secondary direct food additives (21 CFR Part 173, 2018).
A secondary food additive is a material that is not used as an ingredient in the food but is likely to become a part of the product during processing and packaging. In Subpart C of Part 173, there is a listing of solvents, lubricants, release agents, and related substances. These materials (particularly the solvents) are specifically for use with food component extraction, or, with regard to packaging materials, these materials are used on equipment and/or on packaging materials to help the processing and packaging machinery run more smoothly and allow packaging materials to move smoothly over surfaces. These substances must meet the requirements of food additives as being safe for human consumption since they are reasonably expected to become part of the food product. Examples of the different substances listed include ethyl acetate), hexane and methylene chloride.

Indirect food additives
In these regulations, there may be limits on the amount that is allowed in the food product and each section of the regulation must be reviewed specifically for each product/process application. 21 CFR 174.5 sets forth the general provisions that are applicable regarding indirect food additives. Good manufacturing practices must be followed, and any substance used must be pure enough for inclusion in food products.
Any substances used in packaging materials for any purpose that fall in this category must meet one of the several criteria: they must be Generally Recognised As Safe as a food ingredient, generally recognised as safe as part of a packaging material or have a proper premarket notification filed with the FDA. This last criteria applies to materials that a company believes are safe for use in packaging materials and the company has filed with the FDA data that have been generated that the company believes to be appropriate to support the position.

Packaging materials in bakery
Packaging ?lms commonly used in bakery products MAP are laminated or ?exible ?lms as lidding materials and semi-rigid plastics as containers. The most important characteristic of the materials is the prevention of inert gases to escape from the package. The basic criteria of selection for such materials are the following:
- Permeability to ?xed gases
 -Water vapour and oxygen permeability
 -Sealability characteristics
 -Ability to thermoform
 -Clarity and anti-fog properties.

In case that a bakery industry intends to introduce MAP technology for products packaging, it must study all involved parameters. Initially, a review of the up to date applications of MAP in the bakery industry must be done and their speci?c characteristics in relation to the products must be examined.

At the present work, the selection of packaging equipment according to speci?cations, the needed gases for the modi?ed atmosphere production, as well as the requirements for the introduction of this new packaging method and the provided advantages for the products are considered. The gases used must be Food Grade and 99.9 % Purity.

For each speci?c bakery product as per research, the optimum combination of CO2 and O2 that give the greatest microbiological inhibition without a?ecting the sensory properties of the food must be determined. In addition, packaging materials are known to have a crucial role in preserving quality and extending shelf life. Consequently, a suitable ?lm structure, widely called ‘‘sandwich’’ of plastic ?lms, should be selected in order to meet preservation and quality requirements of bakery product.

In the food industry, which includes various sectors such as bakery, one of the most important aspects is food labelling. The information is usually for the safety of the consumer and it is mandatory that every packaged food article has to be labelled and it shall provide the following information. •  Name of the food: Name of the food/product is one of the first FSSAI Guidelines on Labelling of Food Product /the packaged product in clear font especially when it is in sticker form or transparent labels stuck directly to blister packs which are used to store cookie, buns etc.
  •  List of Ingredients, Nutritional Information, Declaration regarding Vegetarian or Non-Vegetarian,  Declaration regarding Food Additives, Name and Address of the Manufacturer,  Net Quantity, Code No./Lot No./Batch No, Date of Manufacture and Best Before & Use By Date, Country of Origin for Imported Food,  Instructions for Use:
In addition to these basic regulations, there will always be additional labelling regulations that must be satisfied, depending on the country or region in which the product is to be marketed.
As per FSSAI [Packaging & Labelling Regulations 2011]

Packaging requirements
1.Container/utensils made of the following materials or metals, when used in the preparation, packaging and storing of food shall be deemed to render it unfit for human consumption: containers which are rusty, enameled containers which have become chipped and rusty, copper or brass containers which are not properly tinned, containers made of aluminium not conforming in chemical composition to IS:20 specification for Cast Aluminium & Aluminium Alloy for utensils or IS:21 specification for Wrought Aluminium and Aluminium Alloy for utensils.
2. Containers made of plastic materials should conform to the following Indian Standards Specification, used as appliances or receptacles for packing or storing whether partly or wholly, food articles namely:
Some of the packaging specification mentioned by FSSAI is:
And finally, tin and plastic containers once used, shall not be reused for packaging of edible oils and fats;
Provided that utensils or containers made of copper though not properly tinned may be used for the preparation of sugar confectionery or essential oils and mere use of such utensils or containers shall not be deemed to render sugar confectionery or essential oils unfit for human consumption.
3. General packaging requirements for canned products:
?    All containers shall be securely packed and sealed.
?    The exterior of the cans shall be free from major dents, rust, perforations and seam distortions.
?    Cans shall be free from leaks.

(The author is senior quality assurance executive [F&B] at Cafe Coffee Day Global, Mumbai. She can be contacted at
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