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Food Packaging Regulations


Food Packaging Regulations in India

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) regulates the packaging of all food products in India. The regulations pertaining to food packaging are laid out in the Food Safety and Standards (Packaging and Labelling) Regulations, 2011. All food that is placed in a package of any nature, in such a manner that the contents cannot be changed without tampering with it and which is ready for sale to the consumer must comply with the food packaging regulations in India.

General Requirements for the Container

All packaged food must be put in a utensil or container that is safe. A utensil or container will be unfit for packaging if:

  • The container is rusty;
  • 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;
  • An enameled container that has become chipped and rusty;
  • A copper or brass container which is not with proper tins;
  • Containers made of aluminum 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.
  • 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:
    • IS 10146 (Specification for Polyethylene in contact with foodstuffs);
    • IS 10142 (Specification for Styrene Polymers in contact with foodstuffs);
    • IS 10151 (Specification for Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC), in contact with foodstuffs);
    • IS 10910 (Specification for Polypropylene in contact with foodstuffs);
    • IS 11434 (Specification for Ionomer Resins in contact with foodstuffs);
    • IS 11704 Specification for Ethylene Acrylic Acid (EAA) copolymer.
    • IS 12252 – Specification for Poly alkylene terephthalates (PET).
    • IS 12247 – Specification for Nylon 6 Polymer;
    • IS 13601 – Ethylene Vinyl Acetate (EVA);
    • IS 13576 – Ethylene Metha Acrylic Acid (EMAA);
    • Tin and plastic containers once used, shall not be re-used for packaging edible oils and fats;

Packaging Requirements for Milk and Milk Products

The following packaging requirement is applicable for milk and milk products only:

  • Bottling or filling of containers with heat-treated milk and milk product should be carried out mechanically and the sealing of the containers shall be carried out automatically.
  • Wrapping or packaging may not be re-used for dairy products, except where the containers are of a type that may be re-used after a thorough cleaning and disinfecting.
  • Carry out the sealing process in the establishment in which the last heat-treatment of drinking milk or liquid milk-based products has been carried out, immediately after filling, by means of a sealing device that ensures the protection of milk from any adverse effects of external origin on its characteristic. Design the sealing device in such a manner that the container has opened, and the evidence of opening remains clear and easy to check.
  • Immediately after packaging, place the dairy products in the rooms provided for storage.

Packaging Requirements for Edible Oil or Fat

The tin plate used for the manufacture of tin containers for packaging edible oils and fats should conform to the standards of prime grade quality contained in BIS Standards.

Packaging Requirements for Fruits and Vegetable Products

The following packaging requirement is applicable for fruits and vegetable products:

  • A container in which any fruit product is packed should be so sealed that it cannot be opened without destroying the licensing number and the special identification mark of the manufacturer to be displayed on the top or neck of the bottle.
  • For canned fruits, juices, and vegetables, sanitary top cans made up of suitable kinds of tin plates should be used.
  • For bottled fruits, juices, and vegetables, only bottles/ jars capable of giving a hermetic seal should be used.
  • Juices, squashes, crushes, cordials, syrups, barley waters, and other beverages should be packed in clean bottles securely sealed. These products when frozen and sold in the form of ice should be packed in suitable cartons. Juices and Pulps may be packed in wooden barrels when sulfated.
  • For packing preserves, jams, jellies, and marmalades, new cans, clean jars, new canisters, bottles, chinaware jars, and aluminum containers may be used and they should be securely sealed.
  • For pickles, clean bottles, jars, wooden casks, tin containers covered from the inside with polythene lining of 250 gauge or suitable lacquered cans should be used.
  • For tomato ketchup and sauces, clean bottles should be used. If acidity does not exceed 0.5% as acetic acid, open-top sanitary cans can also be used.
  • Candied fruits and peels and dried fruits and vegetables can be packed in paper bags, cardboard or wooden boxes, new tins, bottles, jars, aluminum, and other suitable approved containers.
  • Must pack the fruits and vegetable products in aseptic and flexible packaging material having good grade quality conforming to the standards laid down by BIS.

Packaging Requirements for Canned Meat Products

The following packaging requirement is applicable for canned meat products:

  • New sanitary top cans made from a suitable kind of tin plate should be used. The cans should be lacquered internally; they should be sealed hermetically after filling. The lacquer used should be sulfur resistant and should not be soluble in fat or brine.
  • Cans used for filling pork luncheon meat should be coated internally with edible gelatin, lard, or lined with vegetable parchment paper before being filled.
  • Must process the meat products packed in hermetically sealed containers to withstand spoilage under commercial conditions of storage and transport.

Packaging requirements for Drinking Water

The following packaging requirement is applicable for drinking water (both packaged and mineral water):

All drinking water that is packaged must be packed in clean, hygienic, colorless, transparent, and tamperproof bottles/containers made of polyethylene (PE) (conforming to IS:10146 or polyvinyl chloride (PVC) conforming to IS: 10151 or poly alkylene terephthalate (PET and PBT) conforming to IS: 12252 or polypropylene conforming to IS: 10910 or food-grade polycarbonate or sterile glass bottles suitable for preventing possible adulteration or contamination of the water. All packaging materials of plastic origin should pass the prescribed overall migration and color migration limits.

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