Enterprises should pay attention to printing ink safety

Author: International Food Packaging Association Packaging Technology expert consultants Yang Weimin

Food packaging is the protector of food, and the packaging industry is an important part of the food industry. With more attention and higher requirements on food safety, people's attention to the safety of food packaging is also increasing, and in addition to the packaging material itself, the safety of printing ink on the packaging can not be ignored.

Food packaging is usually dominated by compound printing ink, some candy paper uses surface printing ink, cooking packaging uses high temperature cooking ink, general vacuum packaging uses polyester ink, milk product packaging should use water resistant, acid resistant, high temperature resistant ink, etc. , The classification is very fine. The gravure printing inks currently used in China contain a large amount of organic solvents. Among them, toluene, ethyl acetate, butanone and other solvents have low boiling points, high volatility, and aromatic hydrocarbons. They are both toxic and flammable, and are the main sources of environmental pollution. The packaging industry is a major user of printing inks, and the quality of printing inks will affect food safety. Therefore, the application of environmentally friendly printing inks in food packaging is urgent. At present, China's packaging companies that use benzene-free ink only account for 20% of the industry, and water-based benzene-free ink is even less.

Why are packaging companies not actively using benzene-free inks?

First, the increasingly fierce competition in the packaging industry has entered the era of low profit. Enterprises are very sensitive to price costs, and the price of benzene-free inks is relatively high. Second, there is no explicit national standard prohibiting the use of benzene-containing inks; Personally speaking, it is difficult to distinguish whether it is benzene-free ink, so that packaging companies have a fluke. Therefore, only the ink manufacturers, printing and packaging manufacturing, packaging users, relevant departments should strengthen supervision and rational consumption, and the whole society can work together to minimize the hidden dangers of food packaging.

The problem of repeated printing caused by multiple packaging must also be taken seriously. In recent years, the rise of the holiday economy has given birth to a greater hotbed for over-packaging. Dragon Boat Festival, Mid-Autumn Festival, Spring Festival and other important festivals will see delicate and complicated food gift box packaging in the supermarket, but behind the sophisticated packaging, they have ignored the potential safety hazards caused by multiple packaging. From the large outer packaging to the inner small packaging, repeated printing is serious. To curb excessive packaging, we must vigorously promote simple packaging and improve relevant laws and regulations. The cost of excessive packaging is used to improve the barrier properties of the inner layer of food packaging and avoid repeated printing.

The discussion about the possibility that the ink used in packaging materials may invade food has already aroused great concern in many European countries. According to media reports, a study by the Food Safety Laboratory in Zurich found that in some food packaging bags, the amount of printing inks made based on mineral oil exceeds 10 times the standard. The European Paper Packaging Industry Alliance and the European Paper and Carton Packaging Alliance said that through efforts, the current consumption of printing inks based on mineral oil in food packaging has been reduced by nearly 90%. In Europe, printing inks based on mineral oil will fade out of the food printing and packaging industry. This is also the development trend of the global printing inks for food packaging.

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