Understanding Food Packaging: The Food Standards Code

There are some pretty intense regulations that all food packaging must comply with to be labelled as ‘food-safe’. The Food Standards Code outlines these regulations, and today we’re going to break down each of these codes concerning takeaway food packaging.

Why is it so critical to ensure your packaging is ‘food-safe’, though?

Because using non-compliant packaging can land you in hot water. Not only is food safety strictly monitored and enforced in Australia, but non-compliant packaging can lead to unhappy customers. So, on top of choosing the right type and style of packaging for your food, you have to ensure that all items are ‘food-safe’ – otherwise, you’re in trouble.

The Food Standards Code

There are five main sections in the Food Standards Code. Let’s explore these codes and break down their meaning for takeaway food packaging and single-use cutlery.

Suitable for Intended Use

The packaging for the food must be appropriate for the food items. You can’t provide takeaway soup or hot coffee in an unsecured container, for example, it must have a secure lid and be suitable for transporting liquids.

Using packaging that is not suitable creates hazards, mess, and can also lead to injury if containers can’t safely secure hot liquids.

Can Be Effectively Cleaned

Surfaces that come into contact with food (and are to be reused, like plates and tupperware containers) must be able to be cleaned effectively. This is partly why takeaway containers are defined as single-use – they can’t be cleaned and sanitised effectively.

This code has little relevance for takeaway food packaging. But it does apply to all of your food preparation surfaces and tools!

Made from Suitable Materials

Here is the big ticket with earning the ‘food-grade’ label – the packaging must be made from suitable materials. Meaning materials that will not contaminate the food and are impervious to grease, food particles, and liquids. Plain cardboard will go soggy and collapse when in contact with liquids, for example, but food-grade cardboard that has been laminated maintains limited resistance, making it perfect for takeaway containers.

Single-Use Items

Even though many of us keep plastic takeaway containers and reuse them at home, they are defined as ‘single-use items’. That means they aren’t intended to be reused (no matter how convenient it is to do so), and the business using them is expressly forbade from doing so. That means takeaway cutlery, containers, and cups must all be disposed of after use by the business.

Outer Containers

Outer containers are those that you put food in once the food’s packaging has been opened – such as the plastic wrap around cheese or pre-sliced deli meats. These outer containers preserve food to keep it fresh for longer and prevent pests or other nasties from contaminating it.

Wrapping Up

Understanding each of these requirements is important for ensuring that your business abides by Food Safety regulations. Not abiding by the code, even accidentally, can cause no small amount of grief.

At Moda, we ensure that all of our food-related products comply with Food Safety regulations. If you need help finding the right food-grade packaging for your products, get in touch today!