The flexible packaging industry is growing in complexity: as the variety of substrates widens and they become increasingly sophisticated, printing inks need to meet numerous, ever more demanding requirements. Inks for laminations have to withstand the lamination process and deliver the bond strength necessary for the respective application. They must also allow high speed printing and ensure excellent graphic quality.
Binders are a crucial component of lamination printing inks. HI-THANE™ A-890K from SONGWON is an aliphatic, solvent based polyurethane ink binder for use in the manufacture of gravure printing inks for a variety of laminates.
This new binder is distinguished by its exceptionally high lamination bonding strength on various plastic films, especially PET, nylon and OPP. Its outstanding heat resistance makes it suitable for use in both retortable and non-retortable flexible packaging laminates. With its very high re-solubility, HI-THANE™ A-890K counteracts scale formation in gravure printing cells, improving print quality and reducing machine maintenance. Thanks to its low viscosity, this versatile binder helps to boost the color strength of inks, promoting top quality printing results.
HI-THANE™ A-890K is suitable for use in pigment grinding to help achieve the required rheological properties and the smaller particle sizes that increase the color strength of prints. It can be used on its own or together with other binders, such as vinyl chloride vinyl acetate and polyvinyl butyral copolymers.
SONGWON will be giving a technical paper at the NPIRI Fall Technical Conference 2017, the venue for technical training, information exchange and professional networking in the graphic arts disciplines. The Conference takes place from October 10-12 at the Hilton Chicago Oak Brook Hills Resort and Conference Center.
After a rigorous application-oriented R&D of almost two years Uflex has developed flexible packaging material with anti-microbial properties. The special properties of the FDA approved packaging material keep the pouch active by scavenging microbial growth thereby enhancing the shelf life of the cooked food packed inside.
Talking about the new flexible packaging material with anti-microbial properties, Mr. Jeevaraj Pillai, Joint President, Packaging and New Product Development, Uflex Limited said, “In this flexible packaging material the sealant layer is specially compounded with anti-microbial properties. In fact this is Active Antimicrobial Packaging and is used to actively modify the internal environment by continuous interaction with the food over the stipulated shelf-life. Active packaging can be defined as a system that modifies the environment inside the food package thereby altering the state of the packaged food system and its headspace to enhance its quality by extension of shelf-life, enhancement of sensory qualities, and maintenance of microbial safety.
In a trial that we recently conducted at room temperature (without refrigeration or any temperature control), the sandwich packed in normal pouch was spoiled after 3-4 days as opposed to the one that was packed in the new flexible packaging material that could keep it protected from microbial growth for almost 8-9 days. Bread has active yeast therefore the real challenge for the packaging was to curb the yeast from outgrowing. In fact the most effective or let’s say the litmus test of this anti-microbial pouch is for bread because of its active yeast which in ripe temperature goes foul in about 48 hours if kept un-protected.”
Mr. Pillai further explained, “The pouch remains dormant till it is empty and swings into action only when it comes in contact with food. We also conducted trials on stuffed Indian bread (known as Paranthas) and the results have been very encouraging. In a tropical weather like we have in India this packaging solution can be very helpful in stopping the growth of fungi and other microbes that spoil food. Trials for other varieties of perishable food products like those with high fat content and for meat and poultry products are on at the moment. We are very hopeful that the results will be equally stellar. In fact using this technology the content of preservatives used by processed food industry can actually be reduced. That is quite a feat in its own right.”
Explaining further about the utility of this packaging, Mr. Pillai said, “Uncooked rice as you would know is susceptible to infestation by weaver mites. The specially compounded sealant layer with anti-microbial properties can also be used to extend the shelf life of uncooked rice in the retail big bags. We are studying the extent of benefit in terms of shelf life extension to this effect. Further this specialized sealant layer if incorporated in a Zip-Pouch can actually redefine its sales trajectory. While an ordinary two ply Zip-Pouch only protects the food items from the environment to keep the aroma intact or let’s say protect it from dust etc. This product will actually work one step ahead and prevent the food from decay over a defined period of time thereby extending its shelf life even at room temperature without any refrigeration/ cold chain for that matter.”
Talking about the latest development, Mr. Anup Kansal, President, Packaging Business Uflex said, “This new innovation from Uflex sits well with our existing range of Zip – Pouch Brand. This product is a great value to our consumers by securing their food at room temperature over extended periods. It is a boon to people who want to stick to home food while on their daily commute or travelling away from home.”
Original Source: https://packagingeurope.com/uflex-develops-flexible-antimicrobial-packaging-material/
Beech-Nut infant cereal has undergone a packaging transformation driven by consumer needs. Gone is the paperboard carton wielded by moms and dads for generations, and in its place is a sleek co-extrusion blow molded newcomer whose two key benefits are listed prominently on the front of its full-body shrink sleeve label: easy-pour spout & measuring cap.
“Parents are very focused on measuring the amount they’re giving their baby, and that was a package feature not found in the category,” says Andy Dahlen, Vice President of Marketing at Beech-Nut. “So we set out to create a package that would provide that first-in-category benefit.” Also designed into the threaded injection-molded polypropylene closure is a spout that makes it easier to control product flow during dispensing. Dahlen sums up the relaunch this way: “Measurability, pourability, and portability—those were the drivers.”
First shipments of the new container, which holds the same 8 oz. as its paperboard predecessor, started reaching stores in February, and now the container is available nationwide. Secondary packaging, done on three pieces of equipment supplied by Delkor, is notable, too. But we begin with the primary pack.
The container itself, coextrusion blow molded by Silgan Plastics, weighs 43 g. A layer of EVOH serves as oxygen barrier, as some of the products can have their shelf life shortened if residual oxygen levels are not kept low. The other components of the package are
• an induction-sealed foil closure supplied by Constantia
• a threaded closure with dispensing feature injection molded of polypropylene by Mold-Rite Plastics
• an injection-molded PP snap-fit overcap that goes over the threaded closure and doubles as a measuring cup, supplied by Silgan
When asked about the relative cost of the new package, Dahlen says it costs more than the previous package. He adds that the consumer pays a slight premium, too, “though relative to the competition we’re nearly at parity.”
All new packaging equipment
Predictably enough, a whole new packaging line was required for the new package, and it’s an impressive assembly of equipment to say the least. It begins with a Busse depalletizer from Arrowhead Systems that feeds containers into the Morrison infeed timing screw of a Spee-Dee Packaging Machinery continuous-motion auger filler. This machine has 18 pockets on its turret, and each container occupies one of these pockets. So as the turret rotates, the containers pass beneath two dispensing spouts fed by multiple augers. The rotational speed of the turret combined with the RPM of the auger delivers the requisite 8 oz. of product into each container. The filler is rated to run at 100/min.
According to Spee-Dee Vice President of Sales and Marketing Timm Johnson, because the cereal itself is quite fragile, some of the tooling had to be modified so that the product could be handled more gently. Another piece of customization involved the vibration used to settle products whose densities are quite dissimilar.
“A typical rice cereal has a density considerably lighter than an oatmeal-based cereal,” says Johnson. “So the design of the machine permits the operator at the control panel to pick from a menu of different vibration set points depending on the product. In addition, there’s even some variation within a single product being run. So we included one of our checkweighers at the discharge of the filler that provides continuous feedback to the filler. This lets us automatically vary the RPM of the auger—and consequently the amount of product being discharged with each cycle—based on that feedback.” Facilitating all of this machine-to-machine communication is the fact that the Spee-Dee checkweigher is controlled by the same Rockwell PLC that controls the Spee-Dee servo-driven auger filler.
Chris Darling, Director of Engineering at Beech-Nut, adds that ease of cleaning was another driver in making the Spee-Dee filler such a good fit in the new line. “The other big thing that we were after was that we had an extremely aggressive timeline as the new container was developed,” says Darling. “So when it came to picking a filling machinery supplier, we wanted partners with experience handling similar products. Spee-Dee was not only a good partner for us but had many partnership relationships with the other machinery suppliers whose components are integrated with the actual filler itself, which helped streamline the process.”
There are three important pieces of equipment integrated with the filler. One is the Fords aluminum closure press. This machine punches skirted foil closures from roll-fed aluminum and sends them through a chute that leads to the discharge starwheel of the Spee-Dee filler. So as each filled container exits the filler, it receives a skirted foil closure.
The other equipment integrated with the filler is the R.A. Jones MAP Systems gas flushing system. Just before containers enter the filler, a MAP Systems overhead gas rail nitrogen flushing system drives out ambient air. This overhead gas flushing continues as containers move through the filler and then through a Fords Linear Belt Sealer. This machine uses a top belt to apply pressure on the foil cap as it passes an induction field, securing the foil cap to the container. The induction field is generated by an Enercon induction unit that is fully integrated into and controlled by the Fords machine.
Ink jet and capping
Shortly after the Spee-Dee checkweigher, a Markem-Imaje ink-jet printer puts lot and date code on the bottom of each container. Next comes a pair of Arol rotary cappers each with eight stations. The first applies the threaded dispensing closure and torques it down while the second snaps on the overcap/measuring cup. “We chose Arol because of their depth of experience with this kind of application and they offered the monoblock configuration we wanted,” says Darling.
Next in line is the application of the full-body shrink-sleeve label on an applicator and shrink tunnel supplied by American Fuji Seal Inc. Made of PETG, the label is printed flexo in 10 colors by label converter Hammer Packaging.
At this point it’s on to secondary packaging, executed by three pieces of equipment from Delkor Systems. First a Trayfecta S Series erects corrugated trays from flat blanks and accumulates them side by side on a feed conveyor leading into the Delkor Flex Loader’s flighted conveyor, which runs parallel to the conveyor on which filled containers are conveyed. A servo cross-push mechanism sends two trays at a time off at a right angle and into the flights of the Flex Loader’s transport conveyor. A gantry pick-and-place device with a dual split head end effector mechanically picks 12 containers and fills four three-count trays per cycle.
Once the trays are loaded with canisters, trays are then fed into a shrink bundler where the two display trays become a single shipping package. Between the Flex Loader and shrink bundler is an integrated top-pad placer. For many packages, this top pad is critical to unitize the two (or more) trays together as a stable shipping unit. This is a patented Delkor package solution called the Turbo Case, and it was a key factor in Beech-Nut’s decision to choose Delkor for the secondary packaging solution. The machine also has the capability to do Spot-pak in the future.
“It’s really an ideal on-shelf format,” says Darling. “Store personnel can quickly remove the shrink wrap and place the trays on the shelf or they can remove canisters and place individual units on the shelf. Sustainability was also a factor in our selection as the secondary package provides us with a reduction in corrugated vs the original package that was in a full wraparound case.” The final step of the process ends with another Markem-Imaje Case Coder.
Palletizing is currently done manually. “Automatic palletizing will be looked at in the future,” says Darling.
Original Source: https://www.packworld.com/article/food/breakfast/beech-nut-completes-redesign-infant-cereal-canisters
A new infographic from the Flexible Packaging Association highlights how flexible packaging can help keep food fresher and prevent food waste.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, approximately 40% of food is not consumed. The annual amount of food waste is 36 million tons, which is worth $162 billion.
The typical American family throws away 40% of fresh meat, fish, and poultry purchased; 51% of dairy and fruit purchased; and 44% of fresh vegetables purchased.
When packaged in flexible packaging, the shelf life of green beans extends from seven days to 19 days. Some other examples of shelf life extension for food, when packaged in flexible packaging, include grapes, from seven days to 70 days; broccoli from six days to 20 days; steak from three days to 20 days; and cheese from 190 days to 280.
Original Source: https://www.packworld.com/article/food/benefits-flexible-packaging-fighting-food-waste
Taghleef will be located in Hall 5, Booth C40, displaying an unparalleled selection of BoPP films.
“We are excited to showcase our high-quality Specialty Label Films at Labelexpo Europe,” says Patrick Desies, Chief Sales & Marketing Officer at Taghleef Industries. “Many purchasing decisions are made subconsciously at the shelf. Our innovative films offer safe, sustainable options for a variety of high-quality packaging needs. We welcome attendees to visit our stand to experience the unique functionalities of our products.”
Special finishes offer unique functionalitiesAt Labelexpo, Taghleef will be showcasing its Specialty Label Films range, available for PSL facestock applications as well as over-laminations, and even IML (In Mold Label) and WAL (Wrap Around) roll-fed labels. Each film is designed according to labeling application, for either over-lamination or primary print substrate, and are suitable for gravure, flexo, offset, UV and in some cases digital printing. They offer special finishes, which capture consumer attention:
• Extra matte finish SoFT TOUcH™ with tactile properties creates a smooth, soft effect to transmit a luxurious sensation.
• Anti-Scratch films with gloss, matte and silky-matte finishes ensure scuff and abrasion resistance.
• Anti-Bacterial films provide an extra layer of protection for hygiene, personal care and infant nutrition products by killing 99.9% of bacteria that come into contact with the surface.
In addition, Ti’s PSL portfolio is continuously expanding and one of the newest developments in the PSL portfolio is LSG. It is a white voided, very high yield facestock film with outstanding whiteness and gloss appearance. For injection and thermoforming IML films, Ti will feature its high orange peel and ultra-high yield white voided films LIU and LIX, as well as LIM with its unique satin finish. Metallic look Titanium™ LTZ and LHZ complete the range, delivering high impact label designs. Following the direction of lightweight packaging, LXI ultra-high yield wrap around white voided label film is a perfect choice for both converters and bottlers. LUS film for WAL applications dresses up containers with a contemporary matte finish.
Heat Shrink Sleeve Labels provide outstanding shrink curveVisitors to the Ti booth will have the opportunity to see next generation films for heat shrink sleeve labels. Low density polyolefin polymers create a sustainable, floatable solution that minimizes the impact on PET recycle systems and reduces the weight of the label compared to common shrink sleeve substrates. The exceptional shrink curve, in transverse direction (TD), guarantees up to 65% of shrinkage, offering the freedom to fully decorate containers in a wide variety of shapes and sizes with the potential for 360-degrees of eye-catching label graphics.
Original Source: https://packagingeurope.com/taghleef-industries-to-showcase-wide-range-of-specialized-films/
The pressure-sensitive labels market achieved growth of 3.9 percent year-on-year in 2016, greater growth than that of the label market as a whole, and still commands 40 percent market share, according to the latest findings from AWA Alexander Watson Associates.
AWA’s Label Market Study 2017 reported this growth despite challenges to pressure-sensitive from other labeling and packaging options
Further findings in the report see Asia now the leading region for pressure-sensitive label demand, surpassing the developed markets of Europe and North America. The format’s largest end-use market segment, globally, is food labeling, taking 27 percent of 2016 volumes, mostly used for primary product labels.
Corey M Reardon, AWA Alexander Watson Associates president and CEO, added: ‘Variable information print (VIP) labels are a strong growth area for the versatile pressure-sensitive label, in line with the increasing requirements of today’s transportation and logistics activities, in terms not only of track-and-trace, and stock and inventory management, but also for product authentication, such as RFID-enabled labels.
‘What is more, online consumer purchasing activities are continuing to drive VIP label developments and usage. Pressure-sensitive labels are also extremely adaptable in terms of their available application technologies, which can vary from hand-held label printers for individual packs to mass serialization on the label press.’
In relation to the overall product decoration market, Reardon commented that, while glue applied labels continue to enjoy ‘substantial usage globally’, new sleeving technologies are taking a larger share of the market and continue to grow, while, ‘in-mold labeling remains a niche but growing market.
‘Direct-to-container digital print is an area to watch, and flexible packaging has the capability to revolutionize the whole product packaging market.
‘Labelexpo Europe 2017 will be a fascinating opportunity to review the status quo.’
The upcoming AWA Label Release Liner Industry Seminar and AWA Shrink Sleeve European Seminar coincide with Labelexpo Europe 2017. Find out more about these events in the L&L Events diary.
Original Source: http://www.labelsandlabeling.com/news/latest/pressure-sensitive-labels-continue-thrive
F-MATIC, headquartered in Lehi, UT, is an expert developer and supplier of long-lasting fragrances packaged in easy-to-use dispensers. The company customizes odor control and sanitizing products for retail, janitorial, and hospitality markets. The odor-controlling fragrances are released based on room air flow, and the fragrance mixture contains a molecular odor counteractant.
One of F-MATIC’s newest products is the patented Passive Air System, designed to release high-end fragrances in an environmentally conscious way. Container/dispenser construction details are considered proprietary. But the company did divulge that the wick is more exposed to the air, providing a stronger scent. The technology does not require batteries, fuel cells, or any other artificial power source.
To package the Passive Air System, Shawn Yeats, F-MATIC’s Director of Operations, and his development team had to create a custom packaging line that fills, seals, caps, and applies shrink sleeve labels to the custom-designed 50-mL plastic containers. F-MATIC employs the services of multiple shrink sleeve labeling system suppliers—the principle one being Traco Manufacturing Inc.
Consumers remove the shrink sleeve label and twist and click the cap to activate the product for use. A knife within the cap punctures an induction seal, enabling the fragrances to be released when needed.
Induction sealing considerations
The induction seal is crucial to the effectiveness of the packaging. A hermetic seal prevents the product from leaking during distribution. As Yeats notes, “Eliminating leaks is critical, as it not only ensures product integrity, but also provides confidence throughout our various distribution channels that the fragrances will not spill or be released before their intended use.”
F-MATIC first launched small-batch production of the Passive Air System in 2012. The company used a hand-held induction sealer from China, but the results were inconsistent. Yeats and his staff later turned to Enercon Industries Corp. for advice.
Enercon offered to seal some sample containers in their own laboratories to determine the optimum equipment to meet F-MATIC’s needs. Enercon manufactures two types of induction sealers—hand-held and in-line conveyor-mounted models. The principles of induction sealing are the same for both types. When energized by the power supply, the sealing head produces an electromagnetic current, called an eddy current. Capped containers are exposed to this current, and the foil of the inner seal generates electrical resistance, heating the foil. The hot foil then melts the polymer coating on the inner seal. Heat, coupled with the pressure of the cap, causes the inner seal to bond to the container lip, creating a hermetic seal.
After careful evaluation, F-MATIC opted for Enercon’s Super Seal™ in-line conveyor-mounted system, which includes a narrow sealing tunnel that boosts extra heat-sealing energy into the foil liner. This system also offers greater flexibility to increase line speeds in the future, if needed.
According to Yeats, “The great people at Enercon were very involved in the installation from start to finish. They stayed in regular contact with phone calls, plant visits, and video instructions. And we saved money and time by changing over to the Enercon sealer. Ever since we installed the Super Seal™ cap sealer, we have not had a single sealing issue. It’s allowed us to grow our diverse line of cleaning and odor control products faster, and we’ve completely eliminated any conversations about leaking. We now are offering contract packaging services.
Original Source: https://www.packworld.com/article/machinery/fillingsealing/capping/reliably-consistent-induction-sealing-pays
Flexible packaging is perhaps one of the more important innovations from the packaging industry over the past. Flexible packaging lowers the total weight of a ready product. Additionally, it reduces the size that each packaged item takes during storage and transportation. This allows a greater number of goods to be stored in one location.
The global flexible packaging market is expected to reach US$358.7 bn by the end of 2024. This revenue is being projected at a CAGR of 5.2% within a forecast period from 2015 to 2024.in 2014, the global flexible packaging market was valued at US$238.5 bn. Here are three questions answered by industry experts from Transparency Market Research. The answers to these questions will broaden the knowledge base for many readers.
How Will Accelerated Urbanization in Emerging Economies Benefit the Global Flexible Packaging Market?
The revenue generated in the global flexible packaging market over consumer goods is expected to reach US$278.4 bn by the end of 2024. This is a massive quotation for the global flexible packaging market based on a single sector of application, but the consumer industry has always been the primary application segment for all sorts of packaging. Due to the high demand volume for flexible packaging that already exists in the world, even the currently stagnated demand growth is not going to be large enough to stunt the profitability for flexible packaging manufacturers from consumer goods.
A key reason for the consumer goods dominance over flexible packaging demand is the global urban population. The urban localities hold the overwhelming majority of demand for packaging of items. The current penetration of flexible packaging by its manufacturers is adding to an already impetuous growth rate of urban areas and populations in the world. As economies develop and disposable income percentages increase, flexible packaging will continue to show an increasing appearance rate in the urban markets.
Will Europe Continue to Show a Strong for Flexible Packaging?
Till 2024, Europe is expected to stay the top region for flexible packaging in terms of demand and overall market attractiveness. By the end of 2024, Europe is expected to generate US$117.7 bn in flexible packaging revenue due to added investments, the use of modern and more effective materials and manufacturing techniques, and stronger regulations regarding the volume of plastics used and disposed. At the same time, while the overall growth in demand for flexible packaging in Europe continues towards stagnation, the total volume of demand is already so high that it will ensure regional dominance for the continent in the global flexible packaging market for the coming years.
The growing impact of flexible packaging in emerging economies is also growing at a rapid pace. An example of this would be the setting up of multiple flexible packaging plants in India by Huhtamaki PPL. In developed economies, mergers and takeovers and the incorporation of modern technology take a higher priority, such as the addition of film extrusion films by leading flexible packaging manufacturer Transcontinental, Inc.
Will Flexible Packaging Ever be Considered a Primary Packaging Mode?
Flexible packaging could very well become one of the primary packaging methods in the market. The market has recently been introduced with much advancement in technology that has allowed the producers of flexible packaging. The food and beverage industry is absolutely well-versed on the advantages that flexible packaging will be bringing to the table. It significantly reduces the volume of storage required for foods that are otherwise packed in boxed packaging which can easily reduce number of items in one volume of area.
I recently had discussions with experts from both Nova Chemicals (U.S. office in Moon Township, Penn) and Mitsubishi Gas Chemical America (U.S. office in New York City), regarding their new flexible, shelf-extending packaging technologies. Both companies will showcase these technologies at Pack Expo Las Vegas, Sept. 25-27. Here’s the scoop:
Nova Chemicals has developed two easily recyclable flexible packaging film structures: one that is based on a moisture barrier formulation for items such as dry foods and mixes, frozen fruit, and confectionary; and, one with both a moisture and oxygen barrier formulation for nut mixes, granola bars, meats and cheeses and other snack foods that have traditionally required rigid or non-recyclable mixed-material packaging
These resin formulations, including LLDPE and HDPE, are based on Nova’s dual-reactor Advanced Sclairtech Technology which produces a broad range of single-site catalyzed octane copolymers.
Food packaging market manager Mike Cappelli says:
“Our design team set out using this technology to design polyethylene film resin formulations for multilayer packaging—some for stiffness, some for sealant, some for barrier…This is a win for customers, the industry and the environment. It speaks to the consumer desire for lightweight, economical and sustainable packaging.”
Both base recipes are certified to carry the “In store drop-off” package label from How2Recycle, a rapidly growing program to help consumers understand end-of-life recycling options. Also, the designs are compatible with the #2 HDPE recycling stream.
The new structure designs can be used in a wide variety of package formats, including the popular and fast-growing stand-up pouch, pillow pouch, and flow wrapper. Also, packages can be customized for single-serve or multi-use through addition of zippers or fitments. Processors and converters can work with Nova’s experts at its Centre for Performance Applications to collaborate on film structures for the specific applications. The Centre recently completed installation of its new Effytec horizontal fill seal (HFFS) pouch maker, which will allow creation of prototype packages that can be tested on-site. In addition to excellent barrier properties, Cappelli adds that field experience has shown that traditional printing and inks are used with no problem with reverse print so it’s not subject to a mess or surface printing.
MGC has developed a technology that potentially doubles shelf life for organic and natural foods. Embedded as a film layer in either LLDPE or PP retort packaging applications, it removes oxygen from within sealed bags and pouches. The technology is based on MGC’s oxygen-scavenging Ageless OMAC technology which is made by compounding an iron powder as the active ingredient and is sandwiched between a barrier layer and a sealant layer. The technology is now available as a resin to North American film producers and converters, and can efficiently run on legacy processing systems.
The embedded film layer has been shown to extend and protect food’s natural characteristics without sachets, added spices or sodium. It is said to be ideally suited for soups, sauces, processed fruit, dips, protein bars, prepared meals and wet pet foods, which are particularly vulnerable to food spoilage.
“We offer food processors a free-assessment to determine the increased shelf life that our technology will bring to their brands. Our technology will help food manufacturers build greater consumer preference and brand loyalty for their natural and organic and gluten-free products.” He also added that Mitsubishi will provide resin samples to film processors and converters to test run the technology.
Nail polish and hair dye. Cleaning products. Plants and flowers for the garden.
All of these could get new labels under proposals being considered by California lawmakers, triggering an annual conflict in the state Capitol over how much to tell people about what they buy at the store or use at work.
The bills reflect a recurring tension in the statehouse: environmentalists and consumer advocates argue that people have a right to know what’s in everyday products, while industry lobbyists say putting too much information on a label could harm sales by creating unfounded fear.
In most cases, industry wins.
Already this year, the Democratic-controlled Legislature sidelined a bill to label soda and other sugary drinks with warnings that they contribute to obesity, diabetes and tooth decay — a proposal lawmakers have rejected for the last few years. They also killed a different bill that would have added warning labels to foods containing synthetic dyes. In past years, lawmakers rejected bills to label genetically engineered foods and require ingredients to be listed on the labels of cleaning products.
“You’re fighting the manufacturers, the retailers, the chemistry industry and a long list of business groups who are probably irrelevant with the general public but are highly relevant within the Capitol,” said Richard Holober, executive director of the Consumer Federation of California, which supports more information on labels. “It’s almost always an uphill battle.”
Business groups that oppose such bills work to influence the process in ways big and small. They donate to political campaigns, hire well-connected lobbyists and provide goodies to lawmakers and their staffs. As PepsiCo lobbied against the soda-labeling bill this year, it donated more than $3,800 worth of products to fundraising parties for four lawmakers, including $442 to an event for Sen. Ed Hernandez, chairman of the health committee in which the bill stalled.
The Personal Care Products Council, which opposes legislation to list ingredients on beauty products, hosts an annual reception for lawmakers and their staffs. Thirty of them attended last year’s event at a swanky restaurant near the Capitol, and the group gave gift bags to an additional 145.
The business groups also make persuasive arguments about the downsides of slapping products with new labels: The supply chain becomes complicated if one state requires labels different from others, label requirements create the potential for new lawsuits and consumers could become confused by label information without much context.
“If you say there’s a chemical in something, the connotation is that it’s bad, when in reality chemicals serve a number of valuable purposes,” said Michael Shaw, a lobbyist for the California Manufacturers & Technology Association. “It creates concerns about the product that aren’t necessarily legitimate concerns.”
The possibility that new labels could change what people buy is exactly why these bills remain a perpetual battleground in Sacramento. Here are a few bills still pending that would require new product labels:
What’s in that window cleaner?
Senate Bill 258, by Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens), would require that cleaning products carry labels listing all ingredients and a pictogram illustrating their potential health effects. Environmentalists, health advocates and a union representing janitors support the bill, arguing that it would allow people to avoid products that may cause them harm.
“I have seen firsthand how chemicals have impacted my coworkers through breathing problems or exposure to the skin,” janitor Marvin Mugallo testified at a hearing in March.
The chemical industry, as well as groups representing manufacturers and retailers, are fighting the bill. They say disclosing ingredients could give away trade secrets and listing potentially hundreds of chemicals on a label is impractical for companies and unhelpful to consumers.
“Just because a product might contain a certain chemical, it would be inappropriate to send a message that that product may somehow be harmful to human health and the environment,” said Tim Shestek, a lobbyist for the American Chemistry Council.
Lawmakers killed a similar proposal last year.
Hair dye and health concerns
Beauty products sold at the retail level already must list their ingredients. Assembly Bill 1575, by Assemblyman Ash Kalra (D-San Jose), would put a similar requirement on cosmetics used in beauty salons. The bill is supported by many groups that advocate for women’s health; their position is that hair stylists and nail salon workers are exposed to harsh chemicals on the job.
“At work, I often experience headaches and skin rashes that I believe may be related to the products I used. Many of my co-workers experience similar symptoms,” nail salon worker Kathy Pham testified.
The Personal Care Products Council opposes the bill, saying it already lists cosmetic ingredients on information sheets that salons are required to make available to their employees.
“Our companies often provide [this] information in multiple languages — not just English — in recognition of the diversity of the workplace professionals that use our products,” said Thomas Myers, a lawyer for the group.
Could your daisies hurt bees?
Advocates who want to stem the ongoing decline in the population of bees have proposed Senate Bill 602, filed by Sen. Ben Allen (D-Santa Monica), which would add a new label to flowers and plants that have been treated with certain pesticides. Nursery shoppers would see a label that says, “State of California Safety Warning: May harm bees,” on plants and seed packets treated with a class of chemicals known as neonicotinoids.
Those chemicals have been found in tomato plants, salvias and daisies, and remain in the plant long after the initial application, said Paul Towers, organizing director of the Pesticide Action Network, which supports the measure. Labels would help consumers, he said, because many “don’t have any knowledge that products they’re purchasing may in fact harm bees or kill them outright.”
Numerous agricultural groups and gardening stores oppose the bill. Their lobbyist, Louis Brown Jr., challenged the value of a new label, saying it “informs consumers of very little.”
“In our mind,” he said, “warning without context is nothing but … instigating fear to keep people from buying products.”
CALmatters is a nonprofit journalism venture dedicated to exploring state policies and politics. For more stories by Laurel Rosenhall, go to calmatters.org/newsanalysis.
Original Source: https://ww2.kqed.org/news/2017/06/01/in-california-battles-over-product-labels-industry-usually-wins/