A food business must, when packaging food, only use material that is fit for its intended use. For example, if the food item is intended to be frozen or micro waved, you must use packaging that is suited to this process.
The material used must not cause the food to become contaminated. Packaging that is contaminated with dirt, dust or other foreign material must not be used.
When packaging food with plastic, you must ensure that this plastic is of food-grade quality. Chemicals from non-food grade plastic may leach into the food. The supplier of the packaging material should be able to tell you if the plastic used is food-grade.
Packaging should be stored in a clean area away from non-food related items such as cleaning chemicals or administration items so as to prevent the likelihood of contamination.
The food business must also ensure that there is no likelihood that the food may become contaminated during the packaging process.
Food should be packaged in a clean area, using clean equipment. Where necessary, food handlers should take care to ensure that they themselves do not contaminate the food.
When selling packaged food, the food business should be aware of the labelling requirements for that particular food.
- In most cases, as a minimum, the label must include
- the name of the food,
- a list of ingredients in descending weight order,
- the name and address of the packer, manufacturer and/or importer, •
- a nutrition panel.
Nutrition information panels provide the customer with nutritional information about the food product. Nutrition Information Panels are mandatory on the majority of pre-packaged foods
• and a use by or best before date.
The Best Before is the date at which the quality of product should last to. It is NOT illegal to sell past the Best Before date if the food product is not deteriorated, perished etc.
The Use by Date is the date until which the product can be safely consumed. The product should not be consumed after this date for health and safety reasons. It is illegal to sell food product that has passed the Use by Date.