The Importance of Food Packaging and Role of Coding & Marking in Food Safety

Each individual is responsible for the safety of food he/she eats for nourishment and complete well-being. This was the case eons of years ago when our ancestors picked fruits, caught fish and hunted wild animals to survive. Today, food is manufactured and every department involved in the manufacturing process is responsible in ensuring food safety. Currently, many of our food items are commercially produced in mass and distributed to various regions around the world allowing individuals to have options on what to eat or on what tastes better for their buds. One of the reasons that permits the possible logistics of food across the globe is the proper food packaging.

Grocery shopper checking the product before purchasing
Grocery shopper checking the product before purchasing

Since its introduction, packaging has become an essential component in food commerce. It provides a vital role in food protection and tampering. Aside from this, it plays a significant part in communicating relevant information of the product to the customer to avoid food related problems; therefore, promoting food safety. Before one product gets to its intended customer after packaging, the manufacturing company has to ensure that it communicates the right information with its customers. These may include printing of nutrition facts, ingredients, production and expiration dates, barcodes, etc. on the product’s packaging. This is where the coding and marking industry comes into the picture.

 

Coding printer OEM should be able to support food manufacturing companies based on their requirements. Different types of foods are processed and packaged differently; thus, the coding requirement of every food manufacturer may be different and unique. Fresh food products mainly meat, fruits, vegetables, seafood are usually packed with plastic – PE, PET, polyethylene, PVC, etc., paper, glass and aluminum. Confectioneries, food snacks and toffees similarly use plastic and flexible packaging films. Milk, dairy products and other beverages are better stored in glass, tetra pack and tin cans. 

 

Industrial coding printers must be able to print onto this variety of materials to provide optimum service to the food manufacturing industries. There are many cheap and low-cost industrial coding printers in the market that claim to provide basic printing; however, failed to deliver high print quality and long lasting print on the product. It is important that the printer is coupled with the right ink since permanence of print on the product is highly important to maintain food safety. There are various types of ink that can be used to print on the product depending on the materials. Coding devices should be able to ensure its compatibility to a wide array of ink options such as solvent-based, semi-solvent based, pigment based, water based or even UV visible and non-visible ink types.

 

While food products are being transported, it is likely that they are subjected to various physical and environmental stress. Poor print quality is susceptible to wear off; thus, increasing the chances of the product getting disposed. Worse, since production or expiration information is not visible, clear or not readable, spoiled food product can be mistakenly served to customers, compromising their health.

 

Food manufacturers use different packaging machines for different products as well. This should make coding printers versatile and can be mounted to any kind of packaging machines such as vertical form filling and sealing machine, horizontal form filling and sealing machine, rewinder machine or even on manual or automatically operated conveyor lines. Since food manufacturing companies are present world wide, it is important that the machine can be easily operated or can be used universally. It is of great advantage for a printer if it can be controlled and monitored using smart devices such as mobile phones, tablets and computers since people around the world have become adept on how these devices function. Decreasing the time and hassle of training operators thoroughly with strangely new devices to control the printer.

 

The role of the coding and marking industry in food safety is tantamount to providing the right packaging material to a specific food type for food protection. When a printer OEM is not able to provide the right solution to the food manufacturer, it is not able to exercise its moral responsibility to food safety.

 

Maplejet, in its more than a decade of coding and marking experience, takes its pride in providing quality and long-lasting prints through its simple yet intelligent printer, Hx Nitro Thermal Inkjet printer.