The role of packaging in food safety
At every level of the supply chain, food safety procedures are closely scrutinized. Food packaging is one of the most important factors, as it covers materials handling, shipping and storage. A lot can go wrong if food products are not properly protected from the elements.
What are some of the key roles of proper packaging in food safety? Below, read about some of the risks associated with improper food packaging, as well as how the right level of care can make all the difference.
We live in a world in which food products grown on the West Coast can be shipped to the Midwest for processing and ultimately sent for consumption in the Deep South. The only reason that’s possible is that we have incredible food packaging technology. Products can remain fresher for much longer under the right circumstances. By properly packaging goods, a consumer at the end of the supply chain can feel as if he or she is eating freshly obtained fruits, vegetables or processed goods.
Fresh appearance and texture are one thing, and contamination is another. Even locally grown and distributed food is at risk of contamination from bacteria during a short period of time. Food products that will be shipped or stored for a longer period of time are at even greater risk. That’s why the right food packaging is crucial. Packaging that effectively locks out air and outside contaminants can mean the difference between happy, healthy customers and customers who fall ill. Contamination is a potentially deadly problem and can ruin your brand.
Even if your food is sealed and protected from contaminants, physical impacts and other forces can damage the product. That can be the case in food warehousing, shipping or simple materials handling. Sturdy packaging is crucial to protecting products from trauma — think boxes, crates or even strong plastic wrapping. Certain types of packaging can also include padding and other buffers to absorb the shock of transit.
Just as steps should be taken to prevent inadvertent human error, packaging should be utilized to prevent deliberate tampering. Food packaging should be especially secure when compared with any other type of packaging. Packaging should also include tamper
indication features. These include features that are not easily fixed when a package is breached — such as breakaway closures, printed features, special membranes or other types of graphics that change as a result of tampering. With the right food packaging, not only will you be alerted right away to tampering, but you can also deter others who might try to open your packaging.
While consumer safety is clearly your top concern, your brand image is something worth protecting. Even if the risk of contamination or tampering is minimal, going the extra mile with packaging can help demonstrate to consumers that you take their safety very seriously. Attention to detail is vital to protecting your company and your image. Food packaging is one of the first things a consumer will notice.
From start to finish, food packaging is one of the most important considerations for food processors or any other company that comes in contact with food products. The right approach can protect both you and the consumer.