Food Grade Bulk Bag Safety Guide
The FDA Myth
"Are your bulk bags FDA approved?"
While many users of FIBCs may request an "FDA Approved" bulk bag, it is important to note that such a product does not exist. The Food & Drug Administration does not issue any approvals or certifications of FIBCs or FIBC liners. The FDA regulations that govern food contact can be found here. With regard to the polypropylene resin, a major component of most FIBC fabric, FDA Food Contact Regulation 21 CFR 177. 1520 states that 100% virgin polypropylene resin "may be safely used as articles or components of articles intended for use in contact with food".
Clean Room Checklist:
FIBCs for food products should be manufactured in a clean room environment. While the definition of a "clean room" varies, there are certain standards which should be present in all clean room facilities. Here's a quick checklist to help you ensure that your FIBCs are being manufactured in a proper environment:
Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI)
The Global Food Safety Initiative is a non-profit foundation created under Belgin law, and operated under the Consumer Goods Forum in a mission to globalize our food safety processes. GFSI benchmarks existing third-party food safety schemes in order to achieve a worlwide standard. With the support of many of the world's largest food manufacturers and retailers, GFSI is quickly becoming the global leader on the topic of food safety in the supply chain.
The following are third-party food safety schemes that have been recognized by the Global Food Safety Initiative for the production of food packaging. Click on the individual scheme logo below for additional information.
The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) was signed into law in January 2011. The purpose of the legislation is to ensure that the US food supply is safe by shifting the focus of federal regulators from responding to contamination to preventing it. FSMA grants the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) new authoritative powers, including mandatory recall, container detention, foreign supplier verification, and records inspection.
FSMA Implementation Update:
FSMA regulations were originally scheduled to begin implementation in 2012, however; the first two measures (of seven) were only recently published in September 2015. The implementation phase remains severly underfunded, with the FDA having received less than half of the $580 million that had been allocated to rollout the legislation between 2011 and 2015.
The Preventive Controls for Human Food rule and the Preventive Controls for Animal Food rule were finalized on September 10, 2015. Compliance will begin for most food companies by September 2016. Legally, these provisions do not directly impact food packaging manufacturers / distributors, but the packaging industry will undoubtedly feel the effects through increase quality control requirements from food manufacturing customers.
FSMA & The Food Packaging Industry:
At the time, the FDA implementation process is focused first and foremost on food manufacturers. The direct impact on the food packaging industry is very much unknown. However, packaging manufacturers and distributors shoud prepare for the impacts of two key provisions:
Preventive Controls (Final)
Requires all "registered food" facilities to have a detailed hazard analysis and prevention plan in place
According to the Federal Food Drug & Cosmetic Act (FFDCA), "food" excluded "food contact substances" for registration purposes (i.e. food packaging companies would not be legally accountable to FDA for this provision).
Packaging companies will still be accountable to their customers
Foreign Supplier Verification (Proposed)
Applies to all "importers of food" and requires verification activities to ensure that imports are in compliancce with Preventive Controls measure, are not adulterated, and do not contain undeclared food allergens
For the purpose of this provision, "food" does include food packaging
Defines "Importer" as USA owner or consignee (or agent/rep of foreign owner) of the article of food at time of entry to the United States