VIENNA, Austria, May 17, 2017 (Press Release) -Organised by the Non-profit Food Initiative for Austria (GLi) and the Hygienicum institute, the 3rd Symposium for Food Safety took place in Graz, Austria, from 6th to 7th April 2017. The international packaging and paper company Mondi supported the event as a sponsor and expert with a workshop themed: “Conformity in food packaging”. Dr. Johannes Bergmair, Vice President of the World Packaging Organisation, and Dr. Martin Messner, Head of the Mondi Food Safety Laboratory, explained how improved communication and data exchange between all parties along the supply chain can ease the process of legal compliance.
Anyone who packs food is responsible for making sure that their packaging is harmless to health. But many food manufacturers feel abandoned and uninformed by packaging producers when it comes to conforming with legal regulations. Taking the example of corrugated boxes, Mondi provided interesting insights into the compliance process, the complexity of which surprised many workshop participants. For instance, depending on the primary packaging and the final application, conformity requires providing detailed descriptions of the converted paper grades, the inks, the adhesives and the coatings being used.
The workshop participants – among them food producers and retailers – were impressed by the detailed knowledge and the comprehensive services that Mondi offers via its in-house Food Safety Laboratory (FSL) in Frantschach, Austria. The FSL operates in line with the strictest industry standards and supports Mondi’s plants in performing hygiene and GMP activities, as well as in completing declarations of conformity for food packaging (VO (EG) 1935/2004) and handling other legal requirements such as the REACH regulation and the European Packaging Directive. The aim of the FSL is to ensure centralised and systematic two-way communication regarding incoming raw materials and outgoing products in order to guarantee conformity of packaging applications and to communicate possible boundaries of usage. An IFS auditor participating in the workshop praised the Mondi laboratory for its transparent and open compliance culture.
Dr. Martin Messner provided a practical example: “For a food producer who was under time pressure from a retail customer expanding in the US, Mondi Grünburg and the FSL recently completed the full compliance certification process for primary and secondary packaging materials for the US market in only three weeks. This kind of service is unique in the packaging industry and is very much appreciated by food producers – especially considering the consistently increasing demands placed on food contact materials.“
Mondi is able to provide a rapid and transparent certification process because it is vertically integrated along the value chain, from wood to final corrugated box. In addition, horizontal integration with Mondi’s Consumer Goods Packaging business segment makes the process more straightforward since all necessary knowledge is available in-house.
Food producers look for strong partners who can support them throughout the conformity declaration process. During the symposium, demand for communication standards was clearly evident. According to August Staudinger, Managing Director of GLi and organiser of the event: “The practical insights that Dr. Martin Messner of the Mondi Food Safety Laboratory contributed to our workshop were extremely valuable for participants. He exceeded their expectations in gaining clarity about the whole process of achieving declarations of conformity and the importance of good communication and data exchange.”