ecoXpac, a Danish Packaging Company visits Food and Drugs Authority
The Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) on Tuesday, February 13, 2018 hosted a group of researchers from ecoXpac, a Danish packaging company in partnership with Danish Technological Institute (DTI) which uses plant fiber and moulded pulp made from recycled paper to produce biodegradable packaging for food products.
The delegation visited the FDA as part of their feasibility studies for the establishment of a manufacturing facility for the production of biodegradable packaging materials as a substitute for plastic packaging especially for food in Ghana.
The delegation held intensive discussions with the FDA, on how ecoXpac can identify suitable natural fiber from agricultural waste such as maize husk, pineapple, cassava, yam peels as well as saw dust which could be processed to produce packaging such as bottles, cups, trays, pots, buckets etc.
The Acting Chief Executive Officer of FDA, Mrs. Delese Darko welcomed the delegation and acknowledged their initiatives. She commended the group on their laudable project of recycling agricultural waste into useful packaging products that would change the current manufacturing landscape in Ghana which uses mostly plastics to produce packaging. She however raised concerns on the impact of the constraints climatic conditions of high humidity on the material of the product and its effect on the safety of food, since it is permeable, it needs several coating layers. Mrs. Darko therefore asked for these among others to be considered in the studies.
The delegation indicated that the manufacturing process incorporated systems that would ensure the content surfaces do not present any food safety issues. The fibrous material also possesses mechanical and surface properties that make them environmentally friendly. The final contact surfaces are inert and will not cause harm to the body.
The Head of the Food Inspectorate Division of the FDA, Mrs. Isabella Agra, on her part indicated that before this innovation can be adopted and widely accepted, manufacturers and or producers should be enlightened on the raw materials or chemicals involved in the production of such packaging materials and their cost, as the success of the venture would depend on the cost of their product since a large percentage of the industries in Ghana are small scale.
A member of the delegation disclosed that because the raw materials for packaging are made from organic fibers, they have several other uses including packaging for cosmetics. He also indicated that the technology would allow for the handling of packaging of unlikely sizes and shapes, which meets customer’s demands.
Mrs. Darko, further recommended that since the raw material is biodegradable, the Ministry of Science and Environment could adopt this project to help in waste management efforts in the country. She reiterated the call that the public should be well informed and assisted in waste segregation and also to ensure there is constant supply of raw materials for production and the success of the project.