Quality of packaging material can only be assured only if it meets standard of excellence as well as fulfill necessary attributes. Quality control program always include packing and labeling of the content. Net content control being one of the important parameter, which determines the accuracy of the content, in relation to commodity contained in a package, it means the quantity by weight, measure or number of such commodity contained in that package, excluding the packaging or wrapper weight.
Packaging: is a technological art of confining product in enclosed environment to protect the product in the chain of distribution, storage, sales and usage. It includes activity like designing the packaging material in accordance to the intended use i.e., depending upon the product. Objective of packaging is to achieve and provide physical protection things, shock, vibration, compression, temperature etc., barrier protection from oxygen, water vapor, dust etc. and providing controlled atmospheres keep the contents clean & fresh, prevent containment and agglomeration, for efficient marketing by efficiently designing package graphic design and physical design, providing security to deter tampering and also can have tamper evident features to help indicate tampering. Apart from all above stated objectives, packaging provide convenience in distribution, handling, stacking, display, sale, reclosing, reuse, dispensing. Packaging helps in portion control by serving single serving packaging having precise amounts of content to control usage.
Types of Packaging
- Primary Packaging: Packing material comes in direct contact with product and holds it which is usually the smallest unit of distribution or use
- Secondary Packaging: It is the outside of primary packaging, used to group primary packages together
- Tertiary Packaging: Tertiary packaging is used for bulk handling, warehouse storage & transport shipping. The most common form is a palletized unit load that packs tightly into containers.
Packing material used should not be contaminating the product on the other hand should be good barrier to outer environment like temperature, relative humidity, dust and most importantly contaminants.
Labelling: Any written, electronic or graphic communications on the packaging or on a separate but associated label, displaying information about a product on its container, packaging or the product itself. Labelling promote brand identification, describes the product by providing information regarding the food product in terms of contents, nutritional values, cost, product usage methods, shelf life etc. Labelling can be customized to make it attractive by using bright graphics. Label should consist of Maximum Allowable Variation (MAV) i.e., maximum weight deviation allowed from the label stated weight on the individual package of the food product below which the product is unacceptable, and label weight, i.e., the weight that is declared on the label of the package that indicates the net contents of the package and is seen by customers when they buy food products.
Labelling should include
- Name of the food
- List of ingredients in descending order
- Nutritional information per 100gm/ml
- Name and complete address of manufacturer
- Net content by weight or Volume
- Lot no/Batch identification
- Date of Manufacturing /Packing
- Best Before Date
- Veg/ Non Veg logo of appropriate
- Specific declaration of flavors
- Name and completed Address of Importer, in case of Imported Food
- Country of Origin for Imported food
- FSSAI Logo & License Number
Great attention should be given in not using stickers, not putting legal metrology on labels, make false claims or using pictures/ graphics that miss represent product to the customers. Mislabeling is considered criminal fraud, and is not dependent on the fact, if following food safety or not.
Packaging validation and verification should be done to option the required results in respect to quantity and quality of the product. All techniques can be used for validation and verification such as physical, chemical and biological techniques or can be combined with other techniques to get assurance.