Originally developed and published in 2001, the Global Standard for Packaging Materials was designed to protect the consumer by providing a common basis for the certification of companies supplying packaging to food producers.

The Standard has been updated at regular intervals since, to reflect the latest thinking in product safety, and has now attained usage worldwide, not only by food packaging producers, but by producers of packaging for all applications at all levels of the supply chain.

The Standard now provides a robust framework for all types of packaging manufacturer to assist them in the production of safe packaging materials and to manage product quality to meet customers’ requirements, while maintaining legal compliance. Certification against the Standard is recognised by many brand owners, retailers, food service companies and manufacturers around the world when assessing the capabilities of their suppliers. In response to demand, the Standard has been translated into many languages to facilitate implementation by packaging materials companies across the world.

The Standard has been developed to specify the product safety, quality and operational criteria that must be in place within a packaging manufacturing organisation in order for it to fulfil its obligations with regard to legal compliance and protection of the consumer. The format is designed to allow a company’s premises, operational systems and procedures to be assessed against the requirements of the Standard by a competent third party – the certification body.

What’s new for Issue 6?

The development of Issue 6 followed a wide consultation to understand stakeholders’ requirements. A review of emerging issues was also carried out in the packaging industry and the industries it supplies. The information has been developed and reviewed by a working group composed of international stakeholders representing different sectors of the packaging materials manufacturing industry, retailers, brand owners, food service companies, certification bodies and independent technical experts.

Key features remain integral to the Standard, such as:

  • meeting the needs of retailers and brand owners to reduce the audit burden
  • better recognition of the diversity of the packaging industry and its customers’ demands
  • encouraging greater transparency and traceability in the supply chain
  • encouraging adoption of the Standard as a means of improving product safety at small sites and facilities where processes are still in development.

 

The focus for this issue has been on:

  • enhancing the processes used by quality management systems in printed packaging controls and through a hazard and risk analysis approach
  • continuing to ensure consistency of the audit process across the world
  • the importance of a product safety and quality culture in the drive to improve transparency and coherence across the supply chains of food and non-food products
  • simplifying the hygiene requirements based solely on risk
  • introducing a new fundamental clause, corrective and preventive actions, to address issues and minimise the risk of their occurring
  • based on risk, putting a microbiological environmental monitoring programme in place
  • simplifying the unannounced audit programme.

 

The requirements of Issue 6 have evolved from those of previous issues. There continues to be an emphasis on management commitment, a hazard and risk analysis-based product safety programme and a supporting quality management system. The objective has been to direct the focus of the audit towards the implementation of good manufacturing practices within the production areas while recognising the diversity and breadth of the packaging industry, and the skills required to audit it.

Issue 6 of the Standard is divided into eight manufacturing categories:

  • Glass manufacture and forming
  • Papermaking and conversion
  • Metal forming
  • Rigid plastics forming
  • Flexible plastics manufacture
  • Other manufacturing
  • Print processes
  • Chemical processes

 

Issue 6 of the Standard consists of six sections:

1. Senior management commitment

For any packaging quality management system to be effective it's essential that management personnel are fully aware of the requirements and are committed to the implementation.

2. Hazard and risk management system

The basis for the programme is an effective hazard and risk analysis based on the principles from the internationally recognised Codex Alimentarius system and encompasses hazard analysis and critical control points (HACCP).

3. Product safety and quality management

Sets out requirements for the technical management of product quality and hygiene practices, building upon the principles of ISO 9000. This includes requirements for product specifications, supplier monitoring, traceability, and the management of incidents and product recalls.

4. Site standards

Sets out expectations for the production environment including the layout and maintenance of the buildings and equipment, cleaning, pest control and waste management. This includes a specific section on managing foreign body and chemical controls.

5. Product and process control

The requirements at the product design and development stage including quality assurance, process control and product inspection and testing.

6. Personnel

The standards needed for staff training, protective clothing and personal hygiene.