The narrow web label and package printing industry has seen a growing interest in labels and packaging for food, beverage, cosmetic, and other potentially odor- and migratable-sensitive product applications. Printers of these types of materials are increasingly seeking options for low odor and low migration inks, coatings and adhesives, but they also need to be aware of all the other areas within their print operations that should be carefully controlled to minimize the risk of potential contamination. Here's a very basic checklist as a starting point:
Package Design & Production
Minimize ink coverage/ink film thickness to ensure adequate drying/curing of the ink film.
Substrates should be sourced from a trusted vendor who can assure proper chain of custody. Avoid questionable low-cost sources as these could contain unknown recycled content.
Inks, Coatings & Adhesives--Use confirmed low migration products from a reputable supplier, and keep all LM products segregated from non-LM products to prevent cross-contamination. Some printers who run both LM and non-LM jobs have chosen to switch completely to all LM products to minimize the risk of contamination or incorrect product use.
Any additives used for LM products should also be confirmed as suitable for LM use and stored in a segregated location.
Use only cleaners/press washes designed for LM applications. If in doubt, don't use. Make sure your cleaners and wipes don't leave a residue on printing surfaces that could contaminate the printed material.
Store soiled rags and wipes away from the press area.
For litho printing, make sure the fountain solution is suitable for LM printing. Avoid excess emulsification and be cautious when using alcohol substitutes.
When spray powder is needed, use only a food grade product. In mixed pressroom environments, keep spray powder accumulation around the LM print areas at a minimum.
Traceability is very important when running LM work. It is vital that all products and lot numbers are tracked and recorded to ensure the ability to track down and isolate any issues that may occur. Consider ISO certification, which would fulfill those needed traceability aspects.
Maintenance chemicals (cleaners, disinfectants, etc.) must be suitable for LM applications, and not used or stored near the press while a LM job is being run.
Diesel, gas and LP fumes are a potential source for contamination. Keep print materials well wrapped and...