Microbiological Testing of Packing

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The packaging of consumables must be designed in such a way that it does not alter the quality, identity, safety, and purity of the consumable. Microbiological testing is essential for ensuring the safety and hygiene of the packed consumable.


Microbiological Testing of Packaging

Product packaging is done to protect the product against external factors such as humidity, temperature, oxygen, and light. Throughout the production, the product comes in contact with various microorganisms which may be harmless or harmful. 

Under certain external conditions, plastic can provide a surface for microorganisms to form colonies. Their presence can degrade the packaging material resulting in exposure of the packed consumable to the environment. Some common microorganisms found on packaging materials are bacteria, yeast, escherichia coli (E. coli), salmonella, staphylococcus aureus, and enterobacteriaceae. 

Microbiological testing is one of the mandatory requirements to confirm the packaging material’s quality, which directly impacts the consumables. These tests ensure safety and hygienic levels and, in turn, maintain the quality of the consumables. Tests such as ISO 846, ASTM G-21, etc., are performed to avoid package contamination. For instance, the milk packaging material is checked for coliforms with a set limit of Nil per cm2.

Video 01: ASTM F1608 Package testing

Common Uses of Microbiological Testing of Packaging

  • Companies producing food contact materials.
  • Companies engaged in packaging drugs.
  • Companies distributing packaging and materials intended for direct consumable contact.

Advantages of Microbiological Testing of Packaging

  • Maintains quality.
  • Maintains safety standards.

Limitation of Microbiological Testing of Packaging

  • Limited testing procedure for non-adsorbent packaging material.
  • Few tests have specific size requirements. For example, ASTM F1608 can’t test foil.

Industrial Application of Microbiological Testing of Packaging

  • Food industry
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Cosmetic industry
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