Good Manufacturing Practices in the Food Packaging Industry

Addressing the Whole Production Cycle

23 August 2016

The safety of food packaging is as important as that of the food itself. A Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) program addresses the safety of food contact materials and products by: implementing reasonable control processes and establishing appropriate quality systems.  GMP programs ensure food contact materials and products comply with applicable regulations and are of suitable purity for intended uses. GMPs are required by various regulations throughout the world, such as US FDA 21CFR174.5, and EU Commission Regulation (EC) No 2023/2006.  A GMP program can be used to collect data and information necessary to demonstrate compliance to these regulations.  

 The purpose of GMP is to prevent contamination in manufacturing, storage and transportation and to ensure food contact materials and products are safe for their intended uses. In addition, a well-established quality system in a GMP program will address any material or product safety or contamination-related incident with the most effective corrective action plan.

The best GMP program addresses the whole production cycle of food contact material and products.  It starts with selection of the materials, the incoming raw material quality control and proper storage, production equipment cleaning procedures, manufacturing facility housekeeping procedures, material traceability and product QA and QC control, management of change, employee training and facility auditing, product packaging, storage and shipping, and so on.

A well designed GMP program takes into consideration the type of product that is produced and the position of the product in the overall manufacturing process and supply chain.  For example, a GMP program for the manufacture of an additive chemical used in plastics to achieve certain technical function, will be different from a GMP program for a manufacturing facility that makes containers to pack cooked food in for long-term storage before consumer use.

As GMP is a regulatory requirement for manufacturing food contact materials and products, it is to the benefit of the manufacturer to design and implement a quality GMP program that is relevant to the product.

Huqiu Zhang, Ph.D., Vice President, Chemical Management, Intertek Product Assurance, focuses on consumer and food contact product safety and regulatory compliance here at Intertek. Her expertise includes chemical hazard identification, exposure calculation and risk assessment, as well as global food contact regulations.