Food-grade and feed-grade bags might sound similar, but these two packaging solutions aren’t interchangeable. While both of these FIBC bags are designed to store and transport consumables, the difference lies in where those consumables are headed. Not sure which bulk bag you should be using?
Read on for a breakdown of what you need to know about food-grade and feed-grade FIBCs.
Many people get confused about feed grade meaning. A feed-grade bag is an FIBC that’s been designed to store and transport animal products. This is quite a general term but includes things like food intended for pets and domestic animals, as well as livestock. Compared to food-grade FIBCs, feed-grade bags are relatively inexpensive and are a good choice for storing and transporting products like dry pet food or grain feed.
Feed-grade bags have fairly relaxed safety standards when compared to FIBCs that contain food intended for human consumption. Because of this, feed-grade bags can be manufactured in a wider range of environments with fewer hygiene restrictions in place. Unlike food-grade bags, feed-grade FIBCs can be made from recycled material. All of this greatly reduces the costs involved in producing feed-grade bags.
Food grade meaning is fairly easy to understand. It refers to any bag that can be used to store and transport perishable products like salt, grains, legumes, and spices. As all of these items are intended for human consumption, a food-grade FIBC bag first needs to be certified to ensure they meet strict health and safety requirements. Only a recognized authority can grant this certification.
Even with strict hygiene controls in place, there’s always a chance that food can become contaminated when it comes into contact with packaging. Because of this, robust food safety standards need to be put in place to ensure any bag with the food grade definition applied contains as few contaminants as possible.
Food-grade FIBC bag manufacturing practices also help combat the risk of contamination. Unlike feed-grade bags, where recycled materials are acceptable, only virgin polypropylene can be used. This material ensures maximum safety and hygiene for handling products fit for humans. However, using it means that food-grade bulk bags are markedly more expensive than feed-grade ones.
Using virgin material goes a long way in improving the safety of food-grade bags, but further steps can be taken to increase their health and safety credentials. Where feed-grade bags are manufactured, hygiene isn’t a key priority. For food-grade bags, only the most sterile spaces will do.
High levels of hygiene are maintained by ensuring optimal ventilation and air quality. Advanced HVAC systems are also utilized to monitor and control temperature and humidity levels. Insects and vermin pose yet another contamination risk, so rigorous pest control measures are called for.
Quality control inspections are an important part of the manufacturing process, with this stage calling for additional sterile spaces equipped with sufficient lighting. There’s a chance that workers can contaminate bulk bag materials during manufacturing, so protective gear needs to be worn at all times.
Contamination isn’t just a concern during the assembling of bulk bags. It’s a potential issue during cutting, laminating, and printing. If inspection spaces aren’t thoroughly cleaned, contamination is even possible during this key quality control step.
Both virgin and recycled polypropylene are excellent materials for feed-grade and food-grade FIBCs. In fact, this polymer is one of the most widely used packaging materials around and is commonplace in many industries.
Polypropylene is an incredibly stable plastic, being able to withstand a variety of temperatures. The insert material also possesses excellent chemical resistance, enhancing its suitability for food and feed-grade packaging. Polypropylene’s resistance to moisture also makes any packaging made from it very durable. Polymer-based packaging is also lightweight and flexible, but proper storage is essential if FIBCs are to remain in good condition.
While the material can withstand a degree of moisture exposure, high humidity levels, and temperature fluctuations, too much volatility can lead to the material degrading. Prolonged exposure to UV rays can also affect the structural integrity of polypropylene FIBCs, ruling out long-term outdoor storage.
Unlike feed-grade bags, food-grade FIBCs are subject to extensive tracking to ensure strict compliance with regulations. This starts with the raw material used to produce the bags, right up until the FIBC is assembled and reaches the end user. Unique ID numbers are assigned to each bag for this very purpose, helping to eliminate possible contamination.
Food-grade bags are also more adaptable than their feed-grade counterparts. There’s some scope for customization, with the option to alter things like filling and discharging features to suit the needs of the end user.
Although food-grade and feed-grade FIBCs are both excellent packaging options, you can’t use the two interchangeably. Looking for bulk bags to store and transport perishable goods intended for human consumption? You’ll need to curb the risk of contamination by using food-grade FIBCs. Storing and hauling dry pet food or feed bound for the agricultural sector? Feed-grade FIBCs should suffice.
At Codefine, we’ve been providing sustainable packing solutions to clients since 1959. If you’re looking for food-grade bulk bags or feed-grade FIBCs you can rely on, you’ve come to the right place. Why not explore our full range online today or get in touch with your request?