Health and Safety
Glass is a packaging material that is healthy by nature. Made from natural ingredients, glass is a virtually inert packaging material. It guarantees a protective layer against external influences, making it a safe material for a circular and health-oriented economy.
The glass packaging industry is committed to further strengthening and highlighting the health credentials of glass and providing our supply chains, customers and consumers with a safe and reliable packaging.
Thanks to its non-toxic properties, glass is one of the most suitable food packaging materials to protect consumer health and keep products safe (Dieter Schrenk, 2014). It’s exempt from European Union REACH Regulations (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemical substances) and is also the only widely used packaging material to be classified as “GRAS” (“generally recognised as safe”) by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
To provide a fully circular packaging and ensure that manufacturing meets the highest quality standards, the Glass Container Industry recommends:
– Increasing the focus and tightening regulations on food packaging materials. All health risks associated with hazardous packaging materials and chemicals must be properly identified and addressed by regulatory authorities.
Recent studies have found that nearly 3000 chemicals from food packaging materials can transfer into food, making human exposure to these chemicals highly likely. Other studies have even detected harmful substances, such as microplastics, in human blood.
In contrast, glass and ceramics have been found to be the safest food contact materials due to their non-toxic composition and inertness.
– Using international and standardised food safety requirements – such as those of the International Standardization Organization (ISO) for Food Safety Management.
The ISO standard is a global standard that applies to all organisations in the food industry, regardless of size or industry. It establishes food control requirements that ensure products are safe for consumption.
– A fully circular, yet healthy economy. The success of a circular economy depends on a market for recycled materials that should be competitive in terms of cost, quality and safety, compared to virgin materials.
However, the circular economy shouldn’t come at the expense of human health or the environment. Re-introducing waste materials into the production process can increase the risk of product contamination and lead to the release of harmful chemicals into the environment. The food packaging industry must ensure that materials recycled into food packaging meet all safety requirements and don’t pose risks to the people’s health or the environment.
Glass is an inert and robust packaging material that never loses its safety properties, no matter how many times it’s recycled.
– Ensuring a PEF (Product Environmental Footprint) methodology that also considers the impact of food packaging on health and taste preservation.
While the glass packaging industry welcomes the opportunity to contribute to the development of a simplified environmental impact tool, measures such as human health and preservation of taste preservation shouldn’t be overlooked. These are just two of the areas that haven’t been adequately addressed in this methodology and are critical to making sustainable and informed product decisions.
Discover our position papers on Health and Safety: