How to Choose the Right SQF Level for Flexible Food Packaging

When bad things happen upstream, those downstream suffer.

So the downstream people have a vested interest in making sure that the upstream people do things right.

That is the theory behind SQF (Safe Quality Food), an initiative to assure everyone along the food supply chain that what they buy meets quality and safety standards. SQF is a certification program administered by the nonprofit SQF Institute and recognized by the Global Food Safety Initiative. GFSI is an organization of about 400 food manufacturers and retailers worldwide that determines which food safety certifications are acceptable to its members and, by implication, to the industry at large.

In the United States, SQF is administered by the Food Marketing Institute (FMI), the leading trade organization for food retailers. FMI maintains a database of SQF-certified food manufacturers for its retailer members. It also hosts an annual Safe Quality Food International Conference to introduce new safety- and quality-related technologies, tools, and potential partners.

Sarah Malenich, the SQF Institute’s senior manager for sales and marketing notes:

“Obtaining SQF certification isn’t just about protecting consumers, food service providers, and retailers. It’s also about protecting the producers themselves. SQF Certification not only gives growers assurances that the food they’re selling has been produced to the highest possible standards, it also puts their contact information in an instantly accessible database that retail and foodservice buyers around the world can look to for suppliers they can trust.”

Food packaging

The SQF program operates on three levels. Level 1 is the most basic; it is appropriate for operations with inherently low levels of risk and is not recognized by GFSI. Level 2, unlike Level 1, incorporates elements of the HACCP approach (Hazard Analysis of Critical Control Points) and is the most common level. Level 3, the most advanced, incorporates elements of quality management with food safety management.

All manufacturers must meet certain basic requirements for a HACCP-compatible Level 2 operation. These include (but are not limited to): management commitment, documented control and records, approved suppliers, corrective and preventive action, internal audits, validation and verification, and recall or withdrawal strategies.

As retailers insist on SQF-certified products from manufacturers, the manufacturers are also requiring SQF certification from suppliers, including packaging suppliers. Food packaging has its own “module” within the industry-specific set of modules that further define SQF requirements.

CDF Corp. has achieved Level 2 SQF certification for the drum and pail liners, intermediate bulk container liners, bag-in-box liners and other flexible packaging manufactured at both of its facilities. Containers used as retail packages, like bag-in-box, would have to have SQF certification to be used at an SQF food manufacturing facility. Managers of such facilities might well insist on its suppliers using SQF-certified packaging, such as IBC liners, for their ingredients.

To maintain its SQF certification, CDF has 30 quality and safety programs in place, including: document control, monthly management audits, pest control, chemical control, training, quality control, customer quality/complaint management, traceability, hold and release protocol, handling of glass and brittle plastics, sanitation, and maintenance.

To learn more about our SQF-certified products, download our corporate brochure today.

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Manufacturer’s Quick Guide to Aseptic Food Packaging

When food must be pure, aseptic packaging helps make it so. Whether you manufacture baby food or beverages, the packaging that you rely on can either support sterility and purity, or it can become a hurdle to overcome. Flexible film packaging is in the former category.

If you want to save costs and improve quality by moving away from retort packaging or you need any solution that is better than what you use now, here is what you need to know.

What is Aseptic Packaging?

When food must be sterile, so must the food packaging. Aseptic food packaging is sterile so the pure, sterilized food has the greatest chance of staying that way through every link in the chain.

Typically, aseptic food processing involves a sterilization, either through quick, ultra-high temperatures or sometimes through ultraviolet light, and a sterile environment using sterilized equipment. Sterile food packaging is filled with the sterilized food and sealed to protect it from contamination.

In some cases, food and packaging are sterilized together. This is called retort packaging, which is similar to a food canning process. Packing is filled and sealed, then the sealed unit is heated to kill any bacteria that may be present. This can be an expensive approach.

Aseptic packaging is sterile before it is filled with sterilized food. Unlike retort packaging, aseptic packaging usually does not require further sterilization after it is filled and sealed. The inspection process should be filed with the FDA and meet FDA standards for sterility of the product, sterile zones in the manufacturing process, the packaging system, and the materials used in aseptic packaging.

Flexible packaging

Aseptic packaging keeps your sterile food sterile and helps improve the shelf life of fragile products.

What Is Happening in Aseptic Packaging Today?

Food manufacturers now have a few choices for aseptic food packaging. According to the University of Guelph,  these are the primary types of sterile food containers widely available today.

  • Fill-and-seal: pre-made containers that are sterilized, then filled and sealed
  • Form, fill and seal: flexible film materials that are sterilized, formed into the packaging shape needed, then filled and sealed
  • Erect, fill and seal: cartons that are built, sterilized, filled, and sealed
  • Thermoform, fill and seal: flexible film materials that are sterilized, thermoformed in a sterile environment, filled, then sealed
  • Blow mold, fill and seal: a wide range of possible materials, such as bag-in-box and laminated plastics, that are sterilized, filled, and sealed

Advances in aseptic packaging speed, scalability, strength of materials used, resistance to contamination and effective sealing technology make flexible materials an increasingly better choice for food manufacturers.

Where Can You Find the Aseptic Packaging Solutions You Need?

Flexible film materials and aseptic food packaging processes go hand in hand. With ever-improving technology in barrier films and lighter, high-capacity options, costs go down while quality goes up.

Take the IBC Pillow-Shaped Liner, for example. IBC tote liners are shaped like a pillow and use multiple layers of low-density polyethylene (LLDPE). With the addition of a barrier film, they are ideal for aseptic applications.

IBC liner production is closely monitored using sophisticated equipment. During production, if any issue arises, such as a detected faulty seal, the entire production line comes to a halt. That prevents faulty seals from making their way into your packaging.

When food sterility matters, aseptic food packaging helps you meet your goals. It is flexible, both in a literal and a figurative sense, and it helps reduce costs by as much as 40 percent, depending on what you use now.

If you are ready to learn more, we are ready to help. Contact us for a free sample and download our corporate brochure today.

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Reducing Risk through Proper Testing of Food Packaging Materials

From processing to retail to the consumer’s table, responsible food packaging supports food quality and safety. Regulatory compliance including scrupulous migration testing helps stop contamination in its tracks and keeps food safer throughout every stage of its intended life.

Flexible food packaging plays a growing, rapidly innovating role in the industry. According to Ashland Specialty Ingredients regulatory compliance manager, Joseph A. Spinnato III, at Food Manufacturing, the market share has expanded approximately 4 percent annually since 2010.

With the rush to embrace flexible films for foods and beverages, ongoing compliance and migration testing are vital.

No Flexible Packaging Film is a Universally Failsafe Migration Barrier

Each flexible packaging film in use today has unique characteristics. For example, linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE) is a common barrier film, but Spinnato explains that it’s not appropriate for every food product under every environmental influence.

Even some of the common metallized films, he explains, can fail to perform as a functional barrier under the wrong circumstances. The only way to determine performance is through migration testing.

Food packaging

Testing is an ongoing process that evaluates every known migration influence.

Migration Testing Carries Numerous Variables 

Migration barrier efficacy is influenced by numerous factors, some of which are the chemical makeup of the barrier and the food product, the temperature at which the product is stored, and the reaction of the polymer to temperature changes such as heating or freezing. Because products and conditions vary, one test is not sufficient for determining film packaging fitness for use.

Time, temperature, and the type of food contained all influence packaging fitness, says Spinnato in another article on the subject. Each factor can increase migration on its own, in varying degrees under different conditions. Only through migration testing and consistent food packaging regulatory compliance can the manufacturer, retailer, and end user have a reasonable assurance of food safety.

Strict Record Keeping Ensures Consistently Improving Results

If the factors affecting migration are understood, appropriate intervention can prevent food contamination. Compliance and migration testing effectiveness depend on consistent record keeping. With a clear chain of recorded results, manufacturers can spot packaging film performance inconsistencies and trace them to one or more factors.

The SQF Code explains that food packaging materials should never contribute to a food safety risk, and that record keeping enables auditing. Manufacturers that adhere to SQF Certification regulations have a robust record keeping strategy in place.

Consumers are highly engaged with retailers as well as food manufacturers. They prefer flexible packaging and have an acute awareness of contamination issues that compromise food safety. However, well before a food product gets to a consumer, its ingredients and constituent parts are handled and stored in multiple containers, all of which must comply with food safety standards.

Migration can occur with any flexible packaging film under the right conditions, which makes regulatory compliance and migration testing central to food safety now and in the years to come. Download our food packaging product and pricing brochure and learn how we help mitigate migration through a wide range of food-safe films.

CDF Achieves SQF Level 2 Certification

CDF Corporation, a leading manufacturer of drum liners, pail liners, intermediate bulk container liners, bag in box liners and flexible packaging, has successfully achieved SQF (Safe Quality Food) Level 2 Certification at both manufacturing facilities. The Flexible Packaging Group facility received a score of 97, the Drum and Pail facility received a score of 95.


SQF is a HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points) based food safety program recognized by GFSI (Global Food Safety Initiative). SQF certification is a food safety standard that is comparable to BRC (British Retail Consortium) and FSSC 22000 (Food Safety System Certification). The SQF certification program ensures that products have passed thorough international standards for food quality and safety. SQF is recognized by retailers and foodservice providers around the world who require a rigorous, credible food safety management system.


“CDF’s SQF Level 2 Certification further demonstrates our commitment to exceed the existing basic food safety and quality expectations. Each step throughout our various processes engages our employees in the food safety culture. This certification reinforces to our customers that we are committed to being a reliable packaging supplier within our various supply chains,” says Tom McCarthy, Flexible Packaging General Manager at CDF Corporation.


CDF has 30 quality and food safety programs in place, the following are some of the programs: Document Control, Management Audits/ Monthly Audits, Good Manufacturing Practices, Pest Control, Chemical Control, Storage and Handling, Training, Quality Control, Customer Quality/Complaint Management, Traceability, Hold and Release Protocol, Glass and Brittle Plastics, Sanitation and Maintenance. CDF is committed to making food safe products for all customers. With food safety as a priority, CDF customers know there is no risk in using CDF products for in-process manufacturing or as a finished consumer package.

The USDA Is Working On A New Type Of Sustainable Food Packaging

USDA researchers have devised a different way to package things like meat, bread, and cheese. Instead of using plastic, they’ve developed an edible, biodegradable packaging film made of casein, a milk protein, that can be wrapped around food to prevent spoilage.

The United States produces a lot of milk, but milk consumption has been on the decline for years. So the USDA has been working to find a way to take that excess milk, usually stored in powder form, and create something usable with it. Even though the USDA has been working to create food packaging with milk products for decades; it’s only in the last few years that researchers cracked the code for making casein-based films competitive with plastic-films.

The biggest problem researchers faced with casein-based films is that casein is extremely sensitive to water . This is a serious problem for a product that is supposed to keep food sealed and dry. Adding pectin to the casein mixture created a film that, while still more sensitive to moisture than plastic, did not immediately dissolve in water or areas with humidity. The casein-based film was actually 250 times more effective at blocking oxygen than plastic. That keeps food from oxidizing and going stale, and also slows down the growth of bacteria.

There are still some issues associated with the casein-based packaging. Due to it being moisture sensitive  and because it is edible, the packaging cannot be used alone on store shelves, yet. In order to keep the packaging both stale and sanitary, the packaging would need to be used in conjunction with a secondary layer of packaging. The casein-film could be used to make single-serving packaging for items like a soup or coffee, that, when dropped into hot water, would dissolve completely.

The casein-based film could be sprayed directly onto food, or directly onto packaging, to create a moisture resistant barrier or add nutrients. With the right industry partners, consumers could see this packaging on the shelves in as little as a year.

To read the full article, click here:

Source: Think Progress

Responsible food packaging could connect consumers to the environment

Research reveals that 80% U.S. food shoppers agree that reducing food waste is as important as reducing packaging waste. According to Mintel’s 2016 US Food Packaging Report 52% of consumers indicate they would prefer to buy foods with minimal or even no packaging to reduce waste.

81% of consumers say they would choose resealable packaging over non-resealable packaging to extend the shelf life of food. 54% would pay more for packaging with added features, such as being resealable or portion controlled. 30% indicated they often reuse food packaging for other purposes. However, recycling of food packaging is far from a universal behavior, as only 42% consumers report recycling most of the food packaging they use.

A lack of clear communication on labels may be a contributor to the relatively low recycling rate, 25% of consumers said it’s not always clear which food packaging is recyclable. Only 13% of consumers make an effort to avoid foods in packaging that cannot be recycled.

“Our research shows that reducing food waste is top of mind for consumers,” says John Owen, senior food and drink analyst at Mintel. “This presents opportunities for food brands and retailers to address these concerns through innovative packaging and product messaging.”

However, in 2015, only 21% of food product launches in the U.S. included on package claims regarding environmentally friendly packaging.

“The prevention of food waste can be positioned not only as a good way for consumers to save money, but also as a way to work toward reversing the growing food waste trend through conscious consumption,” says Owen.

Click here to read the article:

Source: Packaging Digest

Food packagers prefer recyclable over compostable materials

The latest finding from Packaging Digest’s Sustainable Packaging Study is that recycling is preferred over compostable packaging. In the survey 57% of brand owners and packaging suppliers sited recyclability as the most important environmental claim. Recyclability has the advantage of already having a large infrastructure in place that can collect, sort and sell the recycled materials.

Commercial composting facilities, which are necessary to create composted materials that can be reused, are less available and often require a drive to offload the materials for composting. This additional use of gas negates some of the green benefits of composting. Since only 20% of the total respondents polled selected compostable as important to their environmental claims, compostable might not offer a good return on investment.

To read the full article, go to

Source: Plastics Today

CDF to feature Meta® Pail with Smart Pail® Inside at IBIE

CDF Corporation will exhibit Meta Pail at IBIE booth 720, North Hall.

The International Baking Industry Exposition will be held October 8th to October 11th at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. IBIE is the biggest, most comprehensive event in the U.S. for the grain-based food industry, bringing together more than 20,000 baking professionals from 100 different countries and every segment of the business. It’s where new products are launched, great ideas are born and creativity and innovation unite. Every three years, the Baking Expo™ puts you at the center of it all—providing unparalleled access to the tools, technologies and resources you need to maximize your baking business’ success.

CDF Corporation and WestRock, a leading integrated packaging company, have combined technologies to create an innovative solution to drive value throughout your supply chain.

The Meta Pail is a semi-rigid, vacuum-formed, plastic pail with a hermetically sealed peel-reseal laminated film lid, housed within an 8-sided corrugated container. Meta Pail was developed for transporting semi-viscous, solid and some liquid currently shipped in plastic pails.

The combination of the Smart Pail and the Meta® 8 is a highly effective packaging solution that delivers superior performance by: supply chain optimization via space savings, transport efficiencies and handling, reducing transportation costs, lowering operational costs, improving your sustainability score card (recyclable components- LLDPE or HDPE pail and corrugated container) plus less packaging and increased space savings.

Smart Pail & EZ-Flo on display at the Association of Dressings & Sauces Technical Meeting

CDF Corporation, a global company that specializes in the manufacture and sale of high quality pail liners, drum liners, intermediate bulk container liners, bag in box and flexible packaging, will display packaging solutions at the Association of Dressings & Sauces Technical Meeting in May.


The Association of Dressings & Sauces Technical Meeting will be held May 1st to the 3rd at the Hyatt Regency Savannah in Savannah, Georgia. The technical meeting includes varied technical sessions that provide know-how and solutions for dressings, sauces and other condiment product manufacturers and suppliers.


Representing CDF will be Product Manager Joe Wanner. CDF’s newest products, the Smart Pail™ and the EZ-Flo™, will be on exhibit at the ADS Information Open House on Monday, May 2nd. The Smart Pail, a plastic pail replacement system, was developed to offer a more sustainable and cost effective system for transporting semi-viscous, solids and some liquids traditionally shipped in plastic pails. The Smart Pail is a semi-rigid, flexible vacuum-formed plastic liner with a unique wide-mouth laminated peel-reseal lidding film structure offering tamper evidence, easy open-close, excellent oxygen barrier and efficient disposal. The Smart Pail is inserted into a specifically designed corrugated box and stacked 48 units per 40” x 48” pallet for transportation.


The EZ-Flo Dispensing System is an environment-friendly dispensing alternative to traditional squeeze, pump and spray bottles. The EZ-Flo’s innovative dispensing system uses patent pending technology to dispense products of various viscosities without the assistance of gravity. The system is cost effective, reducing waste, time and labor, while improving overall productivity.


The Association for Dressings and Sauces (ADS) represents manufacturers of salad dressing, mayonnaise and condiment sauces and suppliers of raw materials, packaging and equipment to this segment of the food industry. Its purpose is to serve the best interests of industry members, its customers, and consumers of its products.

Study finds more plastic packaging could mean less waste

Europe is facing a food waste issue. According to a European Commissioned study, in 2012 more than 100 million metric tons of food was wasted in the EU. Due to the results, the Commission released a policy paper to all EU members to develop a plan to prevent food waste. While plastic manufacturers and their customers in the EU are under constant pressure to reduce the volume of plastic used, plastic may be the answer to reducing the amount of food waste. A study conducted shows that plastic prevents damage and contamination to foods; providing a barrier against moisture and oxygen this translates into a longer shelf life. The study was authored by Harald Pilz, who suggests that packaging technologies are in continuous development to better optimize barrier layers and puncture resistance.


Included in the study were six test foods: sirloin steak, Austria’s Bergbaron cheese, a yeast bun, garden lettuce, a cucumber and chicken. These foods were enclosed in the usual packaging. The study compared the rates of spoiling with these foods when using new plastic packaging. Though the new packaging used more plastic, it reduced the occurrence of food waste by fifty percent.


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Source: Plastics News