Mpconsulting published an independent report in 2021 followed by PRISM Institute in 2022. The reports highlighted inconsistency and conflict in relation to labelling requirements arising from the Bi-national Food regulatory system. Inconsistencies in the standards interpretation, labelling requirements, and alignment with international approaches often led to confusion. Such confusion can contribute to the labelling of missing or inaccurate information which can present risks to consumer safety. Public health and consumer organisations, in response to the government’s consultation process, want reforms to include the review and amendment of the Food Standards Code, according to the Australian Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance. The Food Standards Code focuses on how a product should be labelled on the market.
Allergens and packaging errors
Public health authorities will naturally want to eliminate risks that endanger lives. According to the published annual figures from the FSANZ in 2020, there was an unprecedented level of allergen-related food recall in Australia. There were 51 undeclared food allergen-related product recalls that year, of which half were related to packaging errors. There are already over 20 cases attributed to undeclared food allergens to date from this year alone – Again with some cases being attributed to incorrect packaging.
Recent product recalls in 2023 also highlight incorrect dates, metal debris detection, and contamination in some product recall instances. Product recalls can be expensive, but more importantly, they are life threatening. Over the past ten years there have been 680+ product recall cases. It is only a matter of time before reporting procedures are strengthened and enforced across the country, to minimise health risk, reputational damage and economic cost.
Smart packaging line devices
Errors encountered in this digital age do not have to cause such problems for the consumer as they have done in the past, nor should they exert a major impact on manufacturing. As specialists in the integration of smart packaging line devices since 2005, we’ve developed products and services to overcome workflow and packaging challenges caused by human error. Our systems can perform appropriate track and report date checks, metal detection and systematic checks on other elements such as weight and x-rays. It ensures waste is minimised and products are distributed efficiently to retailers in the right way.
As the increasing trend of replacement ingredients, dietary related information, smaller-sized packaging and sustainability commitments emerges, we can take care of the changes to information. Our system will ensure that production lines have been reliably set-up, increasing job changeover speed and removing the visual inspection and coding required manually. Integrating with our sister company, Proseal, we can provide tray sealers to accommodate various formats including smaller packaging. With their next generation of ultra-hygienic conveyors, we can seal containers at primary and secondary packaging stages, enforcing our final checks with our pallet labelling inspection capabilities.
Beyond 2023, we envisage there will continue to be a focus on quality control, transparency, monitoring and enforcement. This is because of the critical role labelling and packaging play in the food and drink industry. Manufacturers must maintain consistency and commit to food safety to align with potential reform and code amendment outcomes.
Smart systems for handling materials and package verification are perhaps not well understood. It should be considered an essential final processing path before transportation to the consumer world. It is from these smart systems that data collection and traceability can be improved to encourage parties to act more responsively. This allows quicker adoption of change in ingredients and food safety incidents, whilst keeping an upper hand on inventory management.
If you need automatic date coding, coding control, packaging verification and label verification advice for your consumer-packaged goods, particularly on how we can help reduce risk and minimise cost, please contact us and get in touch.
Our products and services will be showcased at the Foodpro 2023 from 23rd to 26th July at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre. AutoCoding will be represented by JBT, our parent company and Proseal our sister company. There will also be an opportunity to discover the latest innovative solutions centering on customised industrial food processing solutions.
Food Pro 2023 – Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, Australia: July 23-26 (Stand Q18).
AutoCoding and Proseal are part of the JBT Corporation family, a leading global technology solutions provider to high-value segments of the food processing industry, committed to providing a service that surpasses customer expectations.