What is Food Grade Plastic?

What is Food Grade Plastic?

Food grade plastic is plastic material deemed safe for use with foods. Plastic must meet strict requirements in order to be considered food safe, and is regulated by higher standards than plastic used for other purposes. Let’s take a closer look at food grade plastic, what makes it safe for food over other types of plastic and some examples of how food grade plastic is used.

What is Food Grade Plastic?

Food grade plastic must be produced using safe materials in a safe environment. For plastic to be used in contact with food or food products, it must:

  • Be protective: to act as a defense against moisture or contamination without breaking down 
  • Be durable: to protect food items during manufacturing, packaging, storage, transportation
  • Be chemically safe: to not contaminate food it comes in contact with. This means the plastic must have no tendency for “leeching”, or the potential for chemicals to seep into the food, where they could either affect the taste or cause adverse health effects for the consumer.

How Does Plastic Become Food Grade Plastic?

To be certified as safe and labeled food grade, the plastic must meet strict standards set by the Food & Drug Administration and other regulating organizations.

Food Grade Plastic Materials

First, the FDA must approve of the materials being used to manufacture the food grade plastic. They examine all ingredients and additives to ensure they are safe and will not affect the taste, odor, or color of the food. They will also test the materials for adverse responses to temperature changes, humidity and moisture, or the presence of other chemicals, oils, or alcohols. This verifies that the plastic will hold up for packaging, manufacturing or other uses.

Food Grade Plastic Manufacturing Facility

Secondly, the facility where the food grade plastic is manufactured must meet stringent cleanliness requirements and have good manufacturing practices in place to minimize potential risks of contamination of its products. Standards documents issued by the International Standards Organization regulate the environment of the manufacturing facility to ensure consistently high quality and clean products. ISO 9000 is the minimum standard with which most food grade plastic manufacturers must comply.

Food Grade Plastic Certifications

Lastly, once the food grade plastic has been used to make plastic film or bags to ship, store, or transport food, its quality will be checked again by the manufacturer and attributed with the correct certifications for food grade and safety. 

The Food Safety System Certification (FSSC 22000), established by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) is one example of a food safety certification for food grade plastic. With this certification, a quality management system is established for the food grade plastic product that continues throughout the product’s lifetime, from manufacturing to the end consumer, to ensure it is consistently high quality and food safe.

Uses of Food Grade Plastic

Food grade plastic is used in many applications, from the packaging and shipping of harvested crops to the supermarket, or the development and distribution of pharmaceutical products. Different types of plastic can be made food grade to handle different products or different environments. A few examples of food grade plastic include:

  • Polyethylene terephthalate (PET or PETE): plastic bottles or jars like single serving water bottles or condiment containers.
  • High-density polyethylene (HDPE): milk jugs, grocery bags, squeeze-dispenser bottles
  • Polyvinyl chloride: cling wrap, high clarity food storage bags
  • Low-density polyethylene (LDPE): produce bags, bread bags, can rings
  • Polypropylene (PP): clear wrappers, bottles for medication
  • Polystyrene (PS): plastic silverware, to-go containers

All of these materials (& more) can be made food grade to provide a safe material for food packaging, storage, and consumption. They are made in a strictly controlled environment to ensure that consumer safety remains top priority.

Looking for food grade plastic bags? A-Pac Manufacturing can help. From frozen foods to bread to produce like peppers and potatoes, we offer a variety of poly bags to suit any need. With custom printing also available, we can develop a custom food-grade poly bag for any company with any need. 

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5 Signs It’s Time for a New Poly Bag Supplier

5 Signs It’s Time for a New Poly Bag Supplier

If you’ve been working with the same poly bag supplier for a while, things may not be the same as when you placed your first order. Maybe they consistently make mistakes, deliver your order late, or never answer the phone. If things keep going wrong with your orders, you’ll need to consider switching to a new one. Let’s take a look at 5 key signs it’s time to start looking for a new poly bag supplier.

5 Signs It’s Time for a New Poly Bag Supplier

It can be hard to end a relationship with a poly bag supplier, but if you’ve noticed any of these signs, it might be time to do it anyway. You deserve better.

#1 Missing or Incomplete Orders

If you’re dealing with a poly bag supplier that makes mistakes with your order by shipping the incorrect quantity, you consistently notice flaws with the bag design or quality, or you have orders that are missing altogether, it’s time for a new poly bag supplier. A poly bag supplier that doesn’t work hard to exceed your expectations — or even meet your basic order specifications — can’t provide the quality product that you and your business need. It’s time to find one who can get it right the first time and every time.

The right poly bag supplier puts its customers first, and knows how to get the job done correctly and efficiently. They will design poly bags that best suit the needs of your business and craft them using the highest quality materials. Then, they’ll always double check the order details to make sure they ship exactly what you need, when you need it.

#2 Low Quality Products

If your poly bag supplier gives you sub-par products, don’t put up with it. If your poly bags don’t last, the plastic rips or tears, and the promised quality doesn’t match what you’re paying, it’s time to ditch your current supplier and find a new poly bag supplier that works with better quality materials, and designs products that actually hold up. 

The right poly bag supplier will take the time to understand what you need your poly bags to do — the tensile strength, durability, and functionality of the bags — and design the perfect bag type for you. Considering factors such as the type of material, bag thickness, custom branding, clarity, sustainability, and more, the right supplier will dial in all the features that matter to you, so you end up with a product perfectly suited for your needs.

#3 Rising Prices

If you’re tired of weeding out hidden fees and battling rising prices for the same poly bag order, it might be time to look for a new poly bag supplier. Some suppliers try to nickel and dime their customers by imposing minimum order amounts or asking them to increase their order amount or frequency, which isn’t putting their customers’ needs first. You shouldn’t have to haggle to get the poly bags you need at a reasonable price, just find the right poly bag supplier.

The right poly bag supplier will be transparent about pricing — so you understand the costs that go into your product and the value you’ll receive for your investment. There’s no reason to hide behind a pricing wall because the right poly bag supplier will let the quality of the product speak for itself. The price of your poly bag order will match the product value, timely delivery, and exceptional customer service.

#4 Complicated Ordering Process

If it feels like it’s consistently a struggle to place a new order every time you need more poly bags, it might be time for a new poly bag supplier. If your supplier can’t make the time to talk to you about your order, find a new one!

With the right poly bag supplier, ordering should be simple, even enjoyable. They will be able to navigate the ordering process to solve for your needs. They will always be reachable at any time to answer questions, talk over the details of your order, or receive feedback.

#5 Lacking Customer Service

If you have a problem with your order, do you have a poly bag supplier you trust to fix it? If you have a last minute request or a rush order, can you rely on them to help you out? If your poly bag supplier isn’t willing to go above and beyond to provide excellent service, or they simply can’t be bothered to help, it’s definitely time for a new poly bag supplier.

The right poly bag supplier understands that things can change quickly for your business. If you need to increase or adjust your order, your poly bag supplier should be ready to help you get what you need. They genuinely care about creating a product you’ll be excited about, and are always looking for opportunities to demonstrate their skill and problem solving abilities. If you’ve got a reliable poly bag supplier in your corner, you’re ready for just about anything that comes your way.

Choose the Right Poly Bag Supplier

You’ll know you’ve found the right poly bag supplier when they take the time to understand your product needs and specifications, get your order right and delivered to you on time, and make the process simple, straightforward and enjoyable. Finding the right poly bag supplier can even save you money, because you get a better product, of a quality you can trust to handle what you need it to.

Time for a new poly bag supplier? A-Pac Manufacturing is ready to help. We offer custom poly bags at no minimum order, and with a 2-3 week lead time. Let us know how we can help you.

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5 Benefits of Poly Bag Packaging

5 Benefits of Poly Bag Packaging

Although there are many ways to package products in 2021, poly bag packaging is still one of the most popular — and for good reason: it’s great for branding, weather proof and durable, and can be used for almost any product you can imagine. Poly bag packaging is a cheaper, faster way to package your product effectively. Let’s talk about 5 of the many benefits of poly bag packaging.

#1 Poly Bag Packaging is a Cost Effective Solution

Poly bag packaging is one of the most cost effective packaging options on the market today. Compared to other materials, plastic is significantly cheaper. For example, cloth or paper cost about 20 times more than plastic to produce. If you have a lot of products to package, poly bag packaging will win every time in a cost comparison. If you’re interested in cutting costs, your company can save money on poly bags by working with the right poly bag supplier.

#2 Poly Bag Packaging Has a Short Production Time

Another advantage of using poly bag packaging for your products is the incredibly quick production process. Poly bags are made from poly sheeting, which is stretched, cut, and sealed to the size, shape, and design of your custom poly bags in a quick, streamlined process. The average production time for custom poly bags is about 4 weeks, but some poly bag packaging suppliers can fill custom orders in as little as 2-3 weeks. 

Most of the production time comes from planning and design to make sure the bags are produced to your specifications. The actual manufacturing process for poly back packaging is very efficient, meaning you get your finished products that much faster.

#3 Poly Bag Packaging is Strong

Poly bags make great packaging material because they can be developed to different strengths. Different types of poly bags are prized for their strength properties — particularly HDPE and MDPE, which are ideal for packaging sharp-edged or bulky products. When ordering your custom poly bags, you can specify the mil strength of your bags, which will determine the thickness of the material. Generally, the thicker the bag, the stronger it is, and more resistant to punctures or tears. 

#4 Poly Bag Packaging is Durable

The biggest reason to choose poly bag packaging for your products is because of its durability. Few packaging materials offer the resistance to moisture of poly bags — especially paper and plastic competitors. For many products, having a protective barrier against moisture is essential. Products like food items or electronic components could be easily compromised without this defense, and are best protected by poly bag packaging.

#5 Poly Bag Packaging Has Versatile Uses

Poly bag packaging is especially suited for customization. It can support custom branding for your company’s logo and colors, and can easily be designed to display whatever image or statement your company chooses. When ordering custom poly bags, your poly bag supplier will print a proof of the bag before it goes to production to make sure the design and feel of the bag is exactly what you want. The proof ensures that every poly bag will look uniform when it is produced en masse. 

Poly bags can also have customized sealing and handle options, or can contain special additives for appearance, clarity, or texture, depending on your company’s needs. It’s truly the most versatile material for packaging because it can be uniquely suited to your company and your product.

If you’re looking for a highly customizable, strong, durable, and versatile way to contain and ship your products, poly bag packaging is the most reliable, cost effective solution. You can order custom poly bags to look, feel, and perform exactly the way you want, and have them ordered, shipped, and ready to use in just a few weeks’ time.

New to packaging? Poly bags are a great packaging option for any product. Feel free to give the A-Pac team a call or contact us online for more information and pricing.

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How to Order Custom Poly Bags

How to Order Custom Poly Bags

Ordering custom poly bags is a simple process, but it’s important to make sure you know all the details about your bags before you order. To do this, figure out exactly what you need before you call your supplier with your order.

What Custom Poly Bags Do You Need?

Consider what you need from your bags — how they should look and feel, and what you need them to do. Do your bags need to hold heavy items? Do they need to be a specific color? Will they display your branding information? The more customizations you add to your bag design, the more information you’ll need to communicate to your supplier. When you order custom poly bags, you should know:

    • The type of poly bags you’re looking for: flat, wicketed, gusseted, sideweld, bottom seal, or other type of custom poly bags
    • How is the bag going to be closed?: fold over, tie, twist tie, taped, sealed
    • What custom branding you need on the bags: including your logo, the placement on the bag, printing (multiple labels), and your preferred colors
    • How many bags you need in your order

The other important piece of information you need to specify is when you need your custom poly bags. This will determine when you place your order.

When Do You Need Your Custom Poly Bags?

The process to make custom poly bags is streamlined to prepare your product quickly, but it takes time to develop the perfect product for your application. Ordering well ahead of when you need your custom poly bags will ensure the proper time and attention is given to product quality so you receive the best bags for your investment.

Consider the average production time for custom poly bags, and talk to your supplier about an estimate based on your specifications. Understand that the more customizations you have for your product, the longer lead time you’ll need to factor into your order. Our typical lead times for registered print bags are 6-8 weeks.

A good rule of thumb is to go back at least 4-6 weeks from the earliest time you need your bags in hand. For example, if you need your bags at your facility on January 30th, you’ll want to order at least a month, to a month and a half before, so place your order by December 15th.

How to Order Custom Poly Bags

When ordering your custom poly bags, be as specific as possible. Your supplier will need to know all the relevant information about your order to be able to design a proof and provide you with an accurate estimate. 

Your order should include the following information: size, style/shape, color, thickness, branding information (including branding copy, location of copy on the bag, specific colors) bag quantity, shipping instructions, and any other relevant information about the bag’s use and strength requirements.

When you order your custom poly bags, it’s important to include all the relevant details. The more information you provide upfront, the smoother the ordering, proofing, and manufacturing processes will roll out.

Confirming Your Custom Poly Bags Order

Confirm the details of your order with your custom poly bags supplier to make sure the details are as you require. It’s easier to fix problems before the bags are made than after they’ve been manufactured and packaged to ship. You can also confirm with your supplier the estimated shipping date and arrival of your custom poly bags. 

A trustworthy, reputable poly bag supplier will communicate with you along the way to make sure you’re getting exactly what you need, when you need it. They prioritize customer service so you understand every step of the process of making your custom order, and make sure you’re satisfied with the quality of the end product. This level of communication not only builds trust with your supplier, but also saves you time and money.

A reputable poly bag supplier should follow up with you three times about the status of your order: 

  1. Once, with a proof of your bag before printing including style, colors, and branding information. This stage will require your approval before the production of the bags can go ahead. 
  2. Again, when your order has been manufactured and shipped. 
  3. Finally, after you’ve received your order to make sure you are satisfied with the product quality, order quantity, and service.

Looking to make a custom poly bag order? A-Pac offers no minimum orders and custom capabilities to get you exactly the bags you need, when you need them. Contact us for more information.

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FSSC + GFSI Food Safety Certifications Explained

FSSC + GFSI Food Safety Certifications Explained

If you’re in the food production, packaging or retail industries, you’ve likely heard the terms GFSI and FSSC certifications — but what are they and what do they mean for businesses in our industry?

What is GFSI?

GFSI, the Global Food Safety Initiative, is an independently-reviewed organization which establishes standards and certifications to regulate food safety on a global scale. GFSI delivers confidence to companies and consumers that food is grown, produced, packaged, shipped, and sold safely. 

GFSI continues to develop new ways to improve food safety and standards, ensuring unbiased reporting and accountability. This agency established the food safety certification FSSC 22000 to govern food quality in a way that is comprehensive, effective, and versatile for different industries. 

What is FSSC 22000?

FSSC 22000, or Food Safety System Certification, is a complete food safety certification which ensures the management of quality through the entire food production process – from production, to processing, to packaging, to purchase.

What About ISO 22000?

Both ISO 22000 and FSSC 22000 are international standards that regulate components of food safety. FSSC 22000 uses ISO 22000 as a building block, to be customized for food quality in your industry’s specialty. It incorporates the quality management system established in ISO 22000 with a few additions.

The main difference from ISO 22000 is that when your facility complies with the FSSC 22000 standard, you will receive approval from the Global Food Systems Initiative (GFSI). This allows you to access worldwide markets under the GFSI umbrella. 

That’s just the basics — let’s break down FSSC 22000 a bit further.

FSSC 22000 Food Safety Certification

FSSC 22000 was developed by GFSI based on ISO 22000, to provide a more focused look at standards in the food industry. The expansion of ISO 22000 includes:

  • Prerequisite Program: A system of procedures that regulate operating conditions and practices in food facilities in order to ensure product quality and consistency, and consumer safety. The procedures are relevant to the activity itself — for example, food packaging vs. farming do not share the same procedure, so are governed by related but distinct methods. 
  • Refined focus to food industries and the operations at each facility. 
  • Additional standards for food fraud and food defense against bioterrorism.

FSSC 22000 ensures food safety by defining standards for quality at all levels of food production, managing risks that occur during the supply chain, and evaluating facilities for compliance with a clear set of procedures. It regulates food industries for safety in all stages, including processing, manufacturing, packaging, storage, transportation, handling, distribution, and retail.

The FSSC 22000 food safety certification lasts for 3 years and requires at least one unannounced audit before renewal.

Who Does FSSC Apply To?

The FSSC 22000 certification was designed to meet the needs of an international industry for a global food safety scheme. It applies to all companies in the food supply chain including farming of produce and animal products, food processing, animal feed production, food ingredients (including additives, cultures, and vitamins), and food packaging manufacturing. 

GFSI-recognized companies that are able to meet international standards may enter the international markets and be accepted by new customers and suppliers who share the quality management system. This means a seamless integration of food safety standards from source to consumer, which protects both the company and the customer.

Benefits of FSSC 22000 Certification 

The FSSC 22000 certification allows facilities to ensure that a product meets specific international standards. A FSSC certified company can assure their customers that their products have been manufactured, packaged and handled correctly and safely. 

Some other benefits of the FSSC 22000 certification are:

  • A comprehensive food safety and quality management system that ensures product quality and consistency throughout the supply chain.
  • Compliance with food safety legislation, regulations, and customer expectations.
  • A framework that can be tailored to your industry and customer needs through activity-specific prerequisites. FSSC 22000 can be easily integrated with other management systems. 
  • Innovation and continuous improvement of procedures throughout the company. The FSSC 22000 demonstrates a commitment to delivering the best possible product to the consumer.
  • International recognition by GFSI, which owns and maintains the FSSC 22000 certification — something ISO 22000 can’t offer. GFSI approval offers access to top retailers worldwide.

For companies that are already ISO 22000 certified, achieving the FSSC 22000 is the logical next step. It upgrades their food safety certification and grants them access to a broader market.

Why Do FSSC 22000 and GFSI Certifications Matter?

For consumers, working with a company that is FSSC 22000 certified, they can trust the company to maintain strict quality standards throughout their manufacturing process. The certification not only establishes trust for the consumer, but also protects the company brand and minimizes risk. The quality management system of FSSC 22000 and GFSI approval means consistently better quality products and a consistently better business.

A-Pac Manufacturing is proud to hold the FSSC 22000 certification and GFSI recognition. This means we can guarantee our product quality for food industry applications, and better serve our customers with exceptional poly bags for all their needs. For more information about our food grade products, reach out to us today.

How to Choose the Right Poly Bag to fit your needs cta