Food grade ink is a specially formulated industrial for use in food packaging at manufacturing plants across the globe. The ink may be used on cartons, plastic wrapping materials, directly on certain food products, or on other food containers.

Every consumer should know what is being used to mark, or code, their food products to feel confident about what they are consuming. The formulation for food grade ink is designed to be suitable for human consumption. Anytime you are shopping for groceries, check the label on your foods to ensure the label is printed specifically using food grade ink.

Country Guidelines

Each country, territory, and region have specific guidelines for printing on food stuffs, which means you should know where the food dye is made and at least the basics of the regulations of the country from whence your food come. For instance, in most US states, you will find their guidelines to be very strict in this venue of industrial inks. Needham Ink, a UK industrial ink producer, adheres to the guidelines of the United State, the United Kingdom, Germany, Middle Eastern states, and the EU.

The basic regulations of the US, in at least 19 of their states, heavily restricts heavy metals in their food packaging, which is essentially what regulates their food grade ink ideology. In this case, food dyes can contain no more than 100ppm (parts per million) of all total combined heavy metals (lead, hexavalent chromium, mercury, and cadmium).

Since the FDA doesn’t regulate food packaging and printing, the general laws follow the FDA guidelines of GRAS, which stands for generally recognized as safe.

Food Packaging Ideology

Why does food require any kind of imprinting? Security and tracking are the primary purposes for food marking and coding. The manufacturers of foods are required to be capable of identifying, tracking, and monitoring every food product distributed from their facilities. That’s a lot of responsibility, and something manufacturers take seriously.

The ideal food grade ink will have the ideal viscosity, surface tension, and solubility, as well as have traits like smear resistant and fast-drying. The chemistry of food dyes is just as important as the safety of the dyes for human consumption. Due to the strict regulations regarding tracking and monitoring foods that are distributed from manufacturers, the dyes used on food must be durable enough to withstand all types of conditions between its conception/production and throughout its lifespan.

For instance, when you buy eggs from the supermarket, they are each marked with pinkish or reddish food grade ink. That ink must endure from the time the eggs are processed and marked until they are used by the consumer.


The Purpose of Marking Food

The guidelines and regulations for food grade ink play a vital role in ensuring the safety and security of consumers. One of the primary purposes for marking and coding food products is to have the ability to track the products in case of a recall. The marking and coding you see tell the manufacturer what batch each product comes from.

Consider how this whole process is designed to help consumers feel safe and confident about the foods they buy and consume.

Article added by Needham Ink