The 4th annual InnoPack Food and Beverage Confex

Food safety and environment compliance need scientific ecosystems

Prabodh Halde, president AFST Mumbai and head Technical Regulatory at Marico

The Innopack conferences are good events with a strong component of business networking and  generally interesting and informative content. With many presentations packed into a short time, the interactive technical and experiential discussions get left out. All speakers including salesmen are treated similarly and discussions with the live and keen to learn audience do not happen.

The highlight of the Innopack event this year were the presentations on food safety regulations and compliance by Raghu Guda of i2i Management Consultancy Services and the update pertaining to FSSAI/LM and plastic regulations by Dr Prabodh Halde who is the global head of regulation compliances at Marico. While both presentations covered some of the legacy legislation and standards, the current ecosystem for food processing and packaging regulation dominated by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) was discussed in some depth considering the time constraints.

A significant point that came out in these presentations and in some later talks discussing the use of particular polymers is that on 4 May 2016 new standards pertaining to the use of only single polymer films and laminates will go into ‘surveillance and enforcement mode.’ There are also new regulations banning the use of polybags made of films below 50 microns and others with regard to the primary display panels (PDP) of packaging. Dr Halde pointed out that in the last three months 22 new regulations and amendments have been passed and 30 more are in the pipeline. He suggested that for industry, this is the “time to engage. What is needed is for the industry to give feedback with technical reasons.”

Dr Halde said that there is a huge thrust and reliance on surveillance-based regulation rather than a risk-based system. Apart from giving scientific feedback to the regulator, he suggests that all the stakeholders must look at the entire ecosystem and not merely their own individual interests. The responses and inputs to the regulators must not simply focus on growth but must also be sensible in terms of the environment and food safety keeping in mind practical timeframes needed to effect desirable changes.

Packaging South Asia is the cooperating media partner for drupa 2016 which is scheduled to be held from 31 May to 10 June at Dusseldorf, Germany.