India evaluating food-contact standards feedback

By Joe Whitworth

- Last updated on GMT

India in process of updating standards for food-contact plastics

Related tags Drinking water Food contact materials

India is evaluating comments received on revisions for food-contact standards relating to polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP).

The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) published amendments to food-contact standards related to PE and PP and a draft amendment to a standard related to polyalkylene terphthalates, earlier this year.

The comments for the PE and PP standards closed at the end of last month.

India is in the process of reforming legislation around food safety and food-contact materials as it grows as an importer and exporter of food and food packaging.

PE and PP first revisions

The PE fist revision document, Positive list of constituents of polyethylene in contact with foodstuffs, pharmaceuticals and drinking water​, evaluated 139 chemicals and listed the maximum level of use percentage.  

The PP first revision document, Positive list of constituents of polypropylene and its copolymers in contact with foodstuffs, pharmaceuticals and drinking water​, listed 143 chemicals and the maximum level of use percentage or weight and weight of final product.

Respondents could include reasons for comments and suggestions for modified wording of clauses.

The Positive List of Constituents of Polyalkylene Terephthalates (PET And PBT) for their Safe Use In Contact With Foodstuffs, Pharmaceutical and Drinking Water ​featured an earlier amendment.

“…Amorphous Hydrogenated Carbon (AHC) is used for coating in PET/PBT containers either through dry or wet process to enhance barrier properties with maximum thickness of 0.15μ.”  

Draft standard for pigments and colorants

BIS also issued a draft standard for pigments and colorants for use in food-contact plastics.

The draft standard Pigments and Colorants for Use in Plastics in Contact with Foodstuffs, Pharmaceuticals and Drinking Water​ was established in 1981 and BIS said it felt a need to revise it with new pigments and colorants available.

“This standard is expected to serve as a basic guide for selection of colouring matters which are considered toxicologically safe for use in plastics and not on the manner of their actual processing or use.”

In a post earlier this year, US-based law firm Keller and Heckman called India’s emerging and evolving food contact material (FCM) regulatory regime represented an “important step forward​” but implementation and enforcement was expected to “take some time.”

One issue identified by legal experts Devon W. Hill and Daniel C. Rubenstein is that plastics currently used in FCMs as a result of industry advances may not comply with the BIS due to procedural difficulties updating the standards to reflect existing industry practices.

Related topics Processing & packaging

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