Exploring the Role of Robust HACCP Plans in Flexible Packaging

Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points or HACCP was born of the need to actively manage and control the risk factors that cause foodborne illnesses. According to the FDA, food safety is everyone’s responsibility, from food preparation and packaging to transportation and retail handling.

At its best, HACCP principles benefit every gear in the food processing, preparation, retail, and end-user machine. It does not just protect the consumer; it supports the well being of the businesses involved.

HACCP Consists of Seven Guiding Principles

The FDA explains that HACCP is made of seven primary principles. They include:

  1. Performing hazard analysis
  2. Deciding on Critical Control Points (CCPs)
  3. Determining critical limits
  4. Establishing CCP monitoring procedures
  5. Establishing Corrective Measures
  6. Establishing verification procedures
  7. Establishing a documentation and record keeping system

Because each food product and food-related industry is different, no single HACCP program can cover each hazard. Food safety hazard mitigation needs a custom approach which involves careful evaluation, development, implementation, training, and monitoring.

A Sound HACCP Plan Addresses Several Key Issues

The best HACCP plan fits the unique hazards and needs of the facility. According to Food Safety Magazine,   examining these multifaceted issues can help create the best program framework.

  • Industry- and process-specific training
  • Content register creation directed at the facility’s unique characteristics
  • Risk assessment of nontraditional operations under the “New HACCP Applications”
  • Assessment of food ingredients, pathogens, and pathogen introduction avenues unique to the ingredients
  • Service provider risks, including airflow during handling and transport, uniform laundry chemicals, cleaning water temperatures, and driver food safety training

Monitoring, Verification, and Validation Keep a Robust HACCP Program on Track

The development and implementation stage of an HACCP plan is only the beginning. As a customized program that addresses the specific needs of the facility, your HACCP plan should also be a dynamic one which includes continual monitoring with data collection, verification of practices, and growth as needed.

The FDA points out that monitoring and verification are two separate operations. In fact, monitoring should also be verified. To ensure accuracy, verification should be left in the hands of an unrelated HACCP team member or an unbiased outside source.

Validation helps the HACCP program stay relevant. New products, processes, and suppliers introduce new food safety issues. Periodic reevaluation helps prevent hazards from slipping through the cracks.

Flexible packaging

Partners with Active HACCP Plans Support Improved Food Safety

Your operation’s HACCP plan deals with known issues that affect the safety of food in your care. Unfortunately, each vendor, supplier, or handler has its own vast array of potential issues and hazards.

For example, you might know the temperature and airflow conditions inside a transport vehicle. But what happens if a driver wears the same gloves for refueling the vehicle and offloading food or packaging materials?

Every gear in the HACCP machine affects the other in direct and indirect ways, but you cannot control what you do not see. That is why a partner with a sound HACCP plan is the safest bet. If you know that your flexible packaging provider uses the same level of care with HACCP plan development, monitoring, verification, and validation as your organization does, you can focus on mitigating in-house hazards.

HACCP is not just one plan; it is almost limitless in scope. Further, your plan is always in a state of fine-tuning and evolution to maintain the highest standards possible. Mitigating food safety hazards takes a customized approach. With a conscientious flexible packaging partner that has an HACCP plan in place such as CDF Corporation, you can focus on your operations and skip unnecessary worry about introduced hazards.

Download our food packaging product and pricing brochure to learn more about our flexible packaging options and why CDF is a safe and healthy choice for your food packaging needs.

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.

The Significance of SQF Level 2 Certification in Flexible Packaging

Customer and client satisfaction don’t often happen by accident. More often, satisfaction is accomplished through research, training, implementation and ongoing improvement.  SQF Level 2 certification helps every step along the food chain achieve.

SQF Level 2 Food Safety Management System certification is quite a mouthful. But the bottom line is simple: food safety and reliability through voluntary adherence to industry-wide standards. In flexible packaging, it means integrity all the way.

SQF Level 2 Preps Businesses for FSMA Final Rule Compliance

SQF Level 2 certification is the gold standard for the Food Safety Modernization Act Final Rule and Current Good Manufacturing Practices (CGMP) education and compliance. It prepares the industry for guidelines that are now in force and those on the horizon.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration says this about the FSMA:

“The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act is the most sweeping reform of our food safety laws in more than 70 years. It was signed into law by President Obama on January 4, 2011.”

CGMPs regulate the design, monitoring, and control of manufacturing processes and facilities, says the FDA.

SQF Level 2 Certification supports uniformity in safe food processing, handling, packaging, and distribution guidelines. The program is recognized around the world, says SQF Institute, for “robust food safety control systems” and an ongoing monitoring process that ensures ethical standards dependable, high quality.

Certification Instills Food Safety Confidence

From market to table, people depend on grocery items to nourish, not endanger. The FSMA and CGMPs help protect consumers against inconsistent manufacturing processes and ultimately, unsafe food. SQF Level 2 certification pulls it all together for food processing and packaging industries in an approachable way.

Every link in the food supply chain affects the next, says SQF Institute. Consumers want verifiable evidence of food safety, and so do retailers because safety issues are often difficult to detect just by looking, smelling or even tasting.

Certification is proof that the food was handled with the best level of care that’s both known and available at the time. Retailers can stock safe foods, which lets moms and dads serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner with confidence.

Flexible packaging

Certification Supports a Great Reputation and Brand Integrity

Regulatory compliance and SQF Level 2 Food Safety Management System certification are brand integrity building blocks. High-quality food and food packaging make clients and customers happy. If it’s available every time, it’s not an accident; it’s the way the company does business.

Certification gives customers certain assurances.

  • Uniform food processing and packaging
  • Consistent record-keeping
  • Continual monitoring for compliance and improvement
  • Allergen management
  • Facility training
  • Process gap analysis

Assurances lead to goodwill, and that makes the company brand as strong as it can be.

Certification is a promise kept. At CDF Corporation, our flexible food packaging is reliable for you and everyone your brand touches. That’s why we recently earned our stripes with SQF Level 2 and what we aim for every day.

Download our food packaging product and pricing brochure to learn more about the flexible packaging options available to you and how our integrity helps support your good name.

The Art and Science Behind Industrial Packaging

What makes flexible packaging such a positive choice? Better performance and product innovation, of course. Industrial packaging has a longstanding relationship with bulky, heavy containers. Perhaps it is difficult to imagine how thin materials can stack up against them. In many cases, the art and science behind lightweight films enables them to outperform their bulkier predecessors.

Flexible, industrial packaging provides workable, dependable solutions for longstanding problems in a cost effective way and with low environmental impact. They’re capturing more and more of the market share, and here’s why.

Forward-Thinking Product Design and Development

Innovation is at the heart of flexible packaging design and development. The goal isn’t just to offer a different packaging option but to create something that performs better on multiple fronts.

Packaging can be a key element in product safety and end-user convenience while fitting into your company’s environmentally-aware policies. How is that possible? The Flexible Packaging Association (FPA) offers a few facts:

  • Flexible packaging isn’t one thing; it’s many things. Product shelf life is extended and waste is reduced by choosing a film with the correct attributes.
  • It contains more product using fewer resources, which reduces warehouse space and transportation costs.
  • A metal container of comparable size uses 75 percent more energy to manufacture and creates significantly more CO2 emissions.

It can guard against solvent breakdown or product spoilage in a durable material that allows for product agitation and dispensing, all in one environmentally-sound unit. That’s much more than just a container.

Liner Films Address Various Industry Issues

Advancements in film technology make flexible packaging a viable option for industries that might not have considered it before. For example, general-use, low-density polyethylene drum liners combine high tensile strength and elongation with tear and crack resistance. Ultrasonic and heat sealing seam technology supports the integrity and overall performance of the liner.

Anti-stat liners employ an internal anti-static agent to reduce static buildup and dry static cling, which protects flammable materials from accidental ignition. Where high oxygen and water vapor barrier concerns exist, round bottom foil liners provide a form fitting liner with a foil inner layer for high barrier protection and multiple options for product contact surfaces include low density polyethylene, polypropylene, or polyester.

These IBC liner options are FDA compliant:

  • Ethylene vinyl alcohol (EVOH): strong, flexible, transparent and widely-used in the food packaging industry.
  • Flexus™ and Flexus HF metallocene LLDPE: flexible, durable and crack-resistant for general use
  • Tenalon™: abrasion-resistant, strong, durable, co-extruded nylon

Flexible materials are unparalleled in their ability to achieve more with less. They’re overtaking traditional packaging materials on so many different levels that they’re steadily moving toward becoming standard. The FPA says flexible is the “second largest packaging segment in the U.S.”

Flexible packaging

Your positive experiences with flexible packaging help drive tomorrow’s advances.

End-User Factors Shape Today’s Performance and Tomorrow’s Innovation

When sourcing a new, flexible packaging option, the more the manufacturer knows about your needs, the better. Details about the product, in-house manufacturing, and handling processes, as well as site condition factors, help build a comprehensive profile.

This information helps pair you with the right product. If your needs vary, modification and customization, such as special venting or a different fitment location, is often an option. Looking ahead, your information does something more; it helps define the future of flexible packaging.

You might be asked about these and other specifics:

  • Product bulk
  • Whether the product is hazardous
  • Which market the product is designed for
  • Product particle size
  • Product special characteristics
  • Liner or bag type (drum liner, IBC liner, etc.)
  • Liner film, if known
  • Fill method
  • Characteristics of the work area
  • Discharge preference
  • Ideal discharge rate
  • Handling, racking, and transportation methods
  • Regulatory compliance concerns

With these and other details, the manufacturer can provide the best flexible packaging solution today and create a cycle of ever-improving design and technology in the future.

Flexible Packaging Supports Regulatory Compliance

Regulatory compliance issues can be a significant barrier between using familiar packaging materials and switching to an unknown material. However, flexible packaging has a strong reputation as a safe, protective, resilient packaging choice that supports compliance.

Depending on the end-use, flexible packaging in the U.S. must remain compliant with voluminous federal regulations, according to the FPA.

Some regulations include:

  • Food, Drug & Cosmetics Act (FD&C)
  • Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA)
  • Consumer Product Safety Act (CPSA)
  • Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA)
  • Federal Hazardous Substances Act (FHSA)

If UN certification is an issue, certain flexible packaging meets UN requirements for containing and transporting hazardous materials that require Class II and III packaging. To qualify, packaging must pass rigorous third-party testing that reproduces the stress and strain of transportation.

Flexible materials also support Current Good Manufacturing Practice (CGMP) regulations, the standard for food and pharmaceuticals, and helps facilitate SQF certification.

Decades ago, who could have predicted that film liners and bag-in-box containers could not only compete with, but perform better than, old standards. Food, pharmaceutical, cosmetic, chemical, and many other industries have navigated toward a future with flexible packaging.

If you’re ready to learn more about how something new can yield high rewards, we’re here to help. Download our food packaging product and pricing brochure to get started.

The Case for Sustainability in Packaging

“Sustainability is the ability to achieve continuing economic prosperity while protecting the natural systems of the planet and providing a high quality of life for its people.” – Environmental Protection Agency

Sustainability has evolved far beyond its early status as a fringe idea. Now, it’s a central theme in the global trend toward efficiency, preservation of natural resources, and economic stability.

Contrary to what you might have heard, an environmentally-sound philosophy doesn’t have to involve uncomfortable trade-offs. Flexible packaging is sustainable packaging, and it can help you meet your goals for the environment, your customer base, and your financials.

Sustainability Supports a Convenient Lifestyle

Imagine a life where consumer packaging didn’t exist. Chances are, your life would take an abrupt turn. Sustainable packaging carries social benefits that support and enhance life in ways that many consumers might never have imagined.

Plastic Packaging Facts asserts that the social benefits are the “third leg of the sustainability stool,” complementing economic and environmental performance.

Sustainable materials, they explain, help keep food fresher longer. From the refrigerated section to produce to shelf-stable products, there’s less spoilage and less waste in the budget as well as the refrigerator.

Flexible packaging, renowned as an ecologically-sound choice, also helps transport more goods using less fuel and keeps products fresher. More people have access to better nutrition, even in remote areas.

Sustainability

Sustainability improves your marketing aim.

A Green Approach Offers a Valuable, Competitive Marketing Edge

In the marketplace, sustainability offers a clear competitive edge. Consumers gravitate toward companies that claim environmental friendliness and demonstrate it through good stewardship.

Sometimes, a company’s philosophy is as important as its products. BizCommunity makes several observations:

  • People buy from companies that make them “feel good.”
  • Consumers prefer companies that tackle societal issues.
  • The younger the customer base, the more a company’s large-scale societal benefits matter.
  • The majority of consumers expect company transparency. They want to see sustainable measures in action.

“The demand for sustainability has affected every aspect of packaging,” says Packaging World.  It influences preferences for smaller package size, lightweighting, resource conservation, and waste minimization.

A course correction toward low-environmental impact, flexible packaging matches global awareness and consumer demand. Sustainability resonates with consumers, which helps build a positive relationship based on a mutual philosophy between a brand and a consumer.

It’s Fiscally Responsible for the Corporate Economies

Sustainability makes sense from an economic standpoint, as well, but perhaps not exactly the way that you think. In a somewhat surprising twist, common knowledge on the subject could hurt, not help, your bottom line. A better path to green goals is developing.

Take recycling, for example. Common knowledge says plastic recycling trumps landfill waste. For that matter, plastics should be avoided, correct? Not so fast.

Sustainable Materials Management (SMM) looks at the whole lifecycle of a product. It begins with the most Earth-friendly source material, ends with as little waste as possible, and gathers as much use from the product as possible inside the life cycle.

Unfortunately, many businesses don’t yet appreciate the place where plastics fit into SMM. The natural capital cost of switching from plastics to alternative packaging materials could place a heavier burden on the planet, according to Packaging Digest.

Plastics are efficient, lightweight, small, and comparatively inexpensive. They often accomplish more than competing materials with a lower overall economic and environmental impact once the big picture comes into focus.

Packaging Digest says balancing SMM and the circular economy is a “journey, not a destination.”  There is no single perfect sustainable solution, as myriad factors affect short- and long-term economic outcomes.

The cost factor is only one of several cogs in the green initiative wheel. Pan out, and you’ll see that source material cost is sometimes minor when compared to other advantages of a low-environmental-impact strategy.

Improved marketability, better living with more conveniences, lower packaging and product transportation costs, longer life cycle and many other benefits create a better case for sustainability in packaging.

Flexible packaging enhances your sustainability goals. Download our food packaging product and pricing brochure and find out more.

6 Advantages of Industrial Flexible Liquid Packaging

Flexible packaging is taking the world by storm. It’s preferred by manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers and end-users. Its popularity isn’t just a trend. For nearly all dispensable products, there’s a flexible packaging possibility.

What can it do for you? Check out these 6 advantages.

#1: Appropriate for Many Different Industries

You’ve probably seen flexible packaging for single-serve fruit drinks and household product refills, such as laundry detergent. But did you know that it safely keeps bulk quantities of health and beauty products, salad dressings, chemicals and paint fresh? Versatility is one dominant characteristic that separates flexible materials from rigid packaging.

Flexible liquid packaging

From warehouse to pantry, smaller packaging fits where traditional packaging can’t.

#2: More Efficient Use of Storage Space

How much storage space do you need for daily operations? With flexible packaging, you’ll probably need less. Even with bag-in-box styles, containers are smaller when empty and smaller when full. That gives you more mileage from your storage space. The space-saving nature of flexible packaging also benefits transportation costs and carbon emissions. Smaller, lighter containers require fewer vehicles, fewer trips and create fewer carbon emissions in the process.

#3: Variety of Container Dimensions and Styles

From ounces to gallons, flexible packaging offers so many options, there’s probably at least one that suits your needs. Choose from several different films, such as the standard laminated polyethylene/nylon, high-barrier laminated polyethylene/EVOH/nylon or metalized polyethylene/metallized polyester.

#4: Durability in Lightweight Packaging

Don’t let flexible packaging fool you. It’s lightweight, but also tough. Bag-in-box containers use significantly less plastic than rigid or semi-rigid containers. CDF1 Smart Seal Technology™ monitors each seal in every liner bag for consistency and stores data for future reference. And a series of in-process tests, including a visual inspection, further ensures the integrity of every bag.

#5: Virtually Limitless Branding Options

Packaging Digest suggests that when it comes to branding possibilities, flexible packaging is just getting started. It’s malleable and lends itself to almost limitless graphic designs. For example, photochromatic ink responds to sunlight, making branding messages appear or disappear. And with clear designs and better inks, the brand message looks sharp and consistent.

#6: Quick Rollout of Packaging Modifications

Ordinarily, a product update, such as a new flavor or color or an ingredient change, requires an expensive shift in production. But with flexible packaging, rollout of a new product or alteration is fast and simple. Maybe you want a different tap style, a custom liner or new graphic design. Or maybe the change is temporary, such as for a seasonal product. Whatever the modification, flexible liquid packaging adapts fast to keep production on time.

Anchor Printing says, “Brand leaders have the responsibility to keep their products dependable, secure and easy to distribute without any shipping disasters.” That sums up the CDF philosophy in a nutshell.

In an era where less really is more, flexible packaging delivers. Download our Bag-In-Box brochure to learn more.

Flexible Packaging Makes Cosmetics Companies Look Beautiful

While you’re busy helping people look beautiful, flexible packaging makes you look brilliant. What could be better? It also saves space, money and reduces carbon emissions.

There’s a growing trend toward flexible packaging for cosmetics and other industries, according to Smithers Pira packaging experts. Consumer demand is one reason. But the benefits for manufacturers, distributors, and wholesalers show that it’s more than just a trend or a fad; it’s the future.

Which Cosmetics Markets Need Flexible Packaging?

One of the greatest things about flexible packaging is that it’s adaptable for so many different types of products. It’s ideal for containing and dispensing liquids. But it’s also a good solution for creams, lotions, and powders.

Tanning salons love flexible packaging for products such as spray-tan liquids, oils, and tanning lotions. Here are a few other markets where flexible materials are a boon:

  • Cosmetics manufacturers
  • Contract filling and co-packing operations
  • Cosmetic processing plants
  • Wholesale suppliers
  • Cosmetic distributors
  • Salons

Why is Flexible Better Than Rigid or Semi-Rigid?

Flexible bag-in-box packaging offers variety in the bag type used as well as bag materials. For example, CDF offers pillow style and form-fit bags for bag-in-box containers. And they’re available in several different bag thicknesses and materials, such as high-barrier co-extruded nylon/EVOH and a polyethylene/oriented nylon blend.

Flexible packaging is light and portable, much more so than rigid or semi-rigid containers. It uses less shelf space in a salon, warehouse or freight vehicle. Transportation costs go down when you make the switch to flexible from rigid or semi-rigid, which also reduces your carbon footprint.

Flexible packaging

A great product is only as good as its delivery to the end user.

What are the Most Important Benefits For Cosmetics?

A beautiful product only matters if it remains beautiful until the end-user receives it. Flexible packaging gives unsurpassed product freshness, quality, and purity. That’s why CDF only uses allergen-free, FDA-approved resins in our container manufacturing process. We’re also ISO 9001:2008 compliant, which gives you peace of mind.

With some products, the dispensing methods affect product integrity. With flexible materials, you can choose from several packaging designs and taps that evacuate more product. There’s no need to scrub the containers, either.

Flexible packaging keeps lotions, creams, tanning sprays and many other cosmetic products fresh and safe from contamination. They’re smaller and lightweight, which aligns with the packaging industry’s “lightweighting” goals. And they’re easy to fill and dispense.

Whether you want small containers or large, if you’re packaging shampoo, body oil or cosmetic powders, flexible materials quickly adapt. They can take on nearly any shape and dispense cosmetic products with less waste than rigid containers.

Our customer service representatives work directly with you to design and produce a container that meets all of your needs. And that’s a beautiful thing, indeed. Download our Bag-In-Box brochure to learn why the possibilities are endless.