Printing Inks & Lacquers
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Printing ink is an essential part of the materials and articles intended to come into contact with food. The inks provide the product with unambiguous product identification and inform the consumer of its contents – useful and important information. It is vital of course that the printing ink remains on the outside of the packaging and does not migrate through it and contaminate the foodstuff.
Printing inks can contaminate the food by migration through the packaging and indirect set-off during the manufacturing process when the printed non-food contact side of the packaging sets off on the food contact side of the packaging during stacking or coiling after the printing process. In order to prevent set-off during the production process the Commission Regulation 2023/2006/EC sets detailed rules for GMP for processes that involve printing inks.
No specific regulation on printing inks exists, but the European Council has issued a guideline dealing with printing inks for the non-food contact side of a material. The guideline mentions a number of substances that are usually involved in the manufacture of printing inks – and the restrictions applying to these substances. The list is not a positive list of authorised substances but should merely be considered as support when assessing the precautions to be taken when the substances are used.
In addition, the European Printing Ink Association (EuPIA) has issued a guideline on printing inks to be used on the non-food contact side of a material, and the Swiss authorities have issued Swiss Ordinance SR 817.023.21, which can also be used as a guideline. The ordinance is intended for the printing ink industry and specifies a number of requirements for the raw materials used in the manufacture of printing inks. It also provides a list of the information a printing ink manufacturer shall provide to their customers so they can comply with the current legislation on materials and articles intended to come into contact with food.