Archive for the ‘Safety’ Category

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.”

Detecting Metal in Corrugated Boxes

October 29, 2014

Rich asks;

I have a food customer who must send product through a metal detector to ensure there is no metal in the food. Intermittently the detector has gone off and when they send my corrugated box through without product it still goes off leaving them to the conclusion that there is metal in the boxes. We are using recycled liners and the mill has essentially let us know that they cannot 100% guarantee that there will be no metal imbedded in the fibres of the box. The mill also provided me with a document from the FBA essentially saying that during the paper making process there is the slight possibility of small metal fibres getting into the paper. Is this consistent with how you understand it to be? Do we have any other options for guiding our customer and ensuring there will not be a chance of metal in the box? Is there a way to prescreen the boxes to determine which ones may have a trace of metal in them before I ship them? Is there a way to test the boxes to determine where the metal exactly is?

I must concur with the position of the FBA and the nature of the 140 domestic paper machines that manufacture containerboard. I have attended enough TAPPI CORBOTEC meetings over my 31 years to know that this concern comes up at every meeting three times a year.  Even the sophistication levels at the different recycled mills vary in their ability to remove metals from the recovered fibre.

The sensitivity levels of different detectors vary as well and the food industry is going to be using a very sensitive detector. Remember, they are looking for the tiniest pieces of metal in food. So a piece of metal that is likely to trip the detector they are using may not trip a more standard detector. You might have passed another packer’s inspection process depending on their equipment and sensitivity settings. The only sure way to prescreen your boxes to your customers’ spec may be to have the same metal detection system and sensitivity settings as your customer is using.

As far as pinpointing the location of the metal in the box, I do not currently know of a way to determine the exact location of the metal IN the board. I would think that this would require some type of probe detector that would be extremely sensitive and have a very narrow scan range. I would also believe the process would probably be quite time consuming and costly.

I don’t know how sensitive the wand type scanners that security firms use are. If you’ve traveled through an airport you’ll know that these can detect something as small as a staple in a paper… when they want too. If you could locate one of those it might be worth trying to see if it would pinpoint the offending contaminant. I wouldn’t suggest asking the TSA though. They don’t tend to have a sense of humor.

Another possible means for pinpointing the metal in the box or sheet would be x-ray. This too will most likely be expensive and time consuming.

However, from past experience if there is metal in your box, it will most likely be found in the medium.

— Ralph

Global Protocol on Packaging Sustainability and Mineral Oil Migration

January 15, 2014

The frequency of requests on these two subjects are increasing, but are currently not numerous. If you are not a follower of the ASKRalph! blog, now may be the time to register your email. If you are involved in food grade packaging in a primary, secondary, or tertiary system, you may want to begin to follow the developments more closely.

Here is a link to a webinar on the GPPS initiative hosted by Consumer Goods Forum, Kraft Foods, Unilever, Nestlé, European, and GreenBlue. This one hour presentation will bring you into the current thinking of this universal project. Global Packaging Forum

The issue of Mineral Oil Migration is still a developing issue. Our associates at Sun Chemical provided the link to the National Association of Printing Ink Manufactures. While there is a $25 charge for this OSHA compliance webinar with highlights in dust control and the Globally Harmonized System. Only Germany has implemented the program. OSHA Webinar

As always please contact me if you need further details. Our friend Maryanne Jashinske, who has done two UN HazMat webinars for us, is becoming Food Safety certified and is another excellent resource that you can reach through this association.

– Ralph

Globally Harmonized Standard (GHS) Labels

November 5, 2013

Tyler asks:

I have a customer asking about the new Globally Harmonized Standard (GHS) pictogram labels that will be mandatory starting in June 2015. As OSHA converts to the new GHS for chemical hazard identification, they are changing the pictogram. Do you have any insight into how picky they will be on shipping boxes. The pictograms consist of a symbol on a white background framed with a red border. This could result in a 2 or 3 color to print which could get expensive on a plain kraft box.

It’s not easy to find a definitive answer. I believe the end chemical manufacturer or shipper has ultimate accountability since they tell us what to print on the box, but really don’t want to leave my customers hanging like that if there are any interpretations out there that I could not find.

I had to do a lot of additional HAZCOM training of employees to teach the pictograms, and I still need to change the labels on all my decanted chemicals. Also as part of the GHS, MSDS forms will become SDS forms and OSHA will require the use of one single standardized form. Currently there are about four different MSDS form designs.

I can tell you that when the pictograms are required to be printed, they must have a RED border. OSHA has confirmed that (see attached presentation). For boxes that already carry DOT diamonds, those marks will suffice and the GHS marks are not required on the outer box, for ground shipment in the US. I am not 100% sure that they will need to be printed on the outer package of a combination package that is either not hazardous by DOT standards, or that meets the Limited Quantity/CC-ORM-D requirements for DOT. I am trying to get more clarification on that.

Here are a couple links to documents that might be helpful as well. Implementation of New HazMat Requirements and OSHA Brief – Hazard Communication Standard: Labels and Pictograms.

The new GHS rules are changing the way we do a lot of things. AICC is offering a HAZMAT training and Certification webinar and test on December 3, 2013. Hosted by Maryann Jashinske, “General Awareness and Security Awareness Training for Hazardous Materials Packaging Suppliers” this webinar provides two of the three types of training, testing and certification required for packaging suppliers: General Awareness and Security Awareness. Click here for details and registration.