Archive for the ‘Safety’ Category

Is Corrugated Safe for Hospital Environments?

August 22, 2017

Gary asks,

We have a customer who is sending their product into a hospital environment inside our corrugated box. The end user, the hospital, is concerned about the absorbency of corrugated playing host to unwanted microbes and potentially transporting them into the hospital. See their message below:

“As you know we package our pulp products in corrugated cardboard boxes.  We are hearing of certain hospitals becoming concerned that cardboard boxes are unhygienic (as they are absorbent and can’t easily be kept clean) and can harbor bugs and should not be brought into clean areas of the hospital.  Do you know of materials that don’t harbor bugs and that could be used to ‘box’ these types of products?”

Our corrugated is food grade safe (CFIA approved) and we were always understanding that the corrugating process adds to the assurance that linerboard and medium do not attract or play host to microbes.

I just recently read an article from Food Safety News (Feb, 2016) that references research available through the CPA regarding the safety of corrugated. The studies performed by FBA and independent 3rd party universities, show that corrugated enters the food stream microbe free. Pathogens cannot survive the high temperatures (180 – 200 degrees F) used in the corrugated manufacturing process. If the manufacture’s process is CFIA approved then the packaging should remain clean throughout the process. I would think that the only potential lapse in protection may occur during the shipping and handling process between the brand owner and the end user, in this case the hospital.

One would think that if the brand owner is providing medical supplies they would have a cleanliness standard that would exceed even the CFIA certification. If they are delivering in their own vehicles you would think that this standard also extends to that portion of the chain of custody. Then once inside the medical facility, one would hope that cleanliness wouldn’t be an issue.

These studies also show that Reusable Plastic Cartons (RPCs) can have a higher risk of microbial organisms (up to 10 million) due to repeated use and probably inadequate or improper sanitizing before and after use.

Here is a link to the reports.

— Ralph


Corrugated Safety Data Sheets

August 19, 2016

Kim asks,

Recently a customer asked us to provide a Safety Data Sheet (SDS) for corrugated sheets. Have you ever heard this request before and do you know if anyone has a standard SDS or a template for and SDS?

Yes Kim, it’s a more common request than you might think. Click here for a Corrugated Safety Data Sheet example provided by the FBA. This should help you craft your SDS.
— Ralph

Revisiting Metal Detection in Paper – updated

June 30, 2016

Mario asks –

I read your post on ASK RAPLH about detecting metal in corrugated. Did you find some solution to detect metals in the corrugated plants? We have had issues that have damaged relationships with some of our customers in the food industry.

I would appreciate your comments.

Update – Click here or scroll down

I just returned from my summer meeting with my technical peers that are members of TAPPI. This was one of the subjects we discussed.

One paper mill system with three 100% recycled fibre machines runs samples from every fourth reel, but has never detected metal from its scanners.

You will need to buy a scanner the same as your customer. You will need to calibrate it according to their sensitivity levels. Make sure you can track the order from the receiving of the sheets from sheet supplier, through your converting equipment/process and all the way to delivery of the finished product to your customers. Once you find the source of the metal and your sheet supplier. Once you identify the source of the metal contamination, then you can address the issue.

If you haven’t read the comments from Bill and Clayton regarding detecting metal please click on this link and scroll down the page. Both gentlemen offer some very good insight based on in-plant experience.

Check with your customer to see what kind of detection system they are using and if the same or similar system may be available to meet your needs.

Dick Lund – RC Lund Consulting.

Metal in paper is usually from virgin paper mills – sloughing off of metal in the machines or poorer fiber cleaning than is used in recycled mills.  Recycled mills are specifically designed to remove metal and other contaminents, virgin – not as well equipped.  Further, testing boxes on line in a box plant may be possible but it is very expense and difficult to execute.  Better to get metal free paper!


BHT Free Corrugated

March 2, 2015

Jimmy asks,

We have customer asking about 200# or 32ect made from corrugated material free of BHT (phenolic antioxidants/preservatives).  Do you know anything about this?

I reached out to Maryann Jashinske at Package Engineering Solutions LLC. She specializes in food packaging safety. Below is her reply.

“As best I can determine, the following article has generated panic amongst food packagers.  BHT is commonly used in cereal box and other food packaging as a preservative for oily products, and is likely found in corrugated.  I can tell you that the plastic manufacturers are suddenly also being asked for BHT-free packaging statements.  BHT is allowed by the FDA, in fact it is an edible food preservative, never mind a food packaging preservative!

BHT is found in wax coatings, soy-based inks (soy contains oil), and possibly adhesives.  Any boxes that use any recycled content could not likely make a “BHT-free” claim, unless you can identify all the additives in the recycled part.

I cannot find any regulatory ban of any sort for BHT in food packaging.”