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Can Home Printer Be Used to Apply Inks to Aluminum Lid?

August 1, 2012
Question 

I am in the process of starting a small home business as I make my own yogurt. I have found a way to print my logo onto aluminum foil lids to seal the yogurt using a regular computer printer. Should I be concerned about computer inks even though my logo is printed on the outside of the aluminum?

Answer 

In the United States, the use of printing inks on food packaging materials is subject to the laws and regulations administered by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), including the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (the Act). The Act requires that these materials be manufactured under good manufacturing practices (GMPs), and that they be safe and suitable for the intended use.

In situations where the ink is not reasonably expected to become a component of food when used as intended (i.e., a functional barrier exists), the ink is not considered a food additive, and may not be subject to FDA requirements for prior authorization or approval. However, transfer of ink components from the outer to inner side of lids during rolling or stacking of lidding material can result in direct contact with food and can be an issue. For more information on FDA printing ink regulations, please see the PackagingLaw.com article, The Regulation of Printing Inks in the United States.

However, in addition to required GMPs and printing inks regulations, there are potentially many other regulations and legal obligations that apply to the manufacture of a food product, especially a dairy product such as yogurt. You also need to determine state and local laws and regulations. We suggest that you retain counsel to assist in determining your legal obligations.