In an article published on September 5, 2019, by regulatory news provider Chemical Watch, reporter Ajoy Das informed that in August 2019 “the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) has issued a revised draft standard for printing ink for food packaging.” Feedback “from relevant industry stakeholders” will be accepted until September 8, 2019. The publication of the draft standard supports the implementation of “a ban on usage of toluene and certain plasticizers in printing inks,” as recommended by the BIS already in 2018. Currently, “almost 80% of printing ink used in food packaging [in India] is toluene-based because it is cheap.”

The draft standard contains a “code of practice” for printed food packaging and “establishes guidelines on how food contact packaging and wrappings are to be used, specifying the responsibilities of the printers of packaging materials and the food industry packing their products.” The food contact articles covered by the standard include external packaging, “wrapping material in direct contact with food,” material where “the printed side is in direct contact with food,” as well as disposables such as “paper plates, drinking straws, table napkins and other disposables, which might be used to wrap or hold food.”

Substances recommended by the draft standard for “exclusion from printing ink formulations” include:

  • Pigments and compounds based on antimony, cadmium, arsenic, chromium (VI), lead, mercury and selenium;
  • Dye colorants such as auramine (basic yellow 2), chrysoidine (basic orange 2), cresylene brown (basic brown 4), fuchsine (basic violet 14), and induline (solvent blue 7), as well as “azo dyes which can decompose in the body to bioavailable aromatic amines that are classified as category 1 or 2 carcinogens”;
  • Solvents such as benzene, dichlorobenzene, 2-ethoxy ethanol, 2- ethoxyethyl acetate, methanol, 2-methoxy ethanol, 2-methoxy ethyl acetate, monochlorobenzene, 2-nitropropane, toluene, volatile chlorinated hydrocarbons and volatile fluorochlorinated hydrocarbons;
  • Plasticizers such as chlorinated naphthalenes, chlorinated paraffins, di-n-butylphthalate (DBP), di-isononyl phthalate (DINP), monocresyl diphenyl phosphate, monocresyl phosphate, polychlorinated byphenyls, polychlorinated terphenyls, and tricresyl phosphate;
  • various compounds such as asbestos, brominated flame retardants, diaminostilbene and derivatives, 2,4-dimethyl-6-tert-butyl phenol, dioxins, hexachlorocyclohexane, nitrosamines, pentachlorophenol and its salts, polychlorinated bi- or terphenyls, polychlorinated dibenzofurans, 4,4-tetramethyldiamino benzophenone (Michler’s ketone), toluene di-isocyanate, titanium acetylacetonate, and vinyl chloride monomer.

Reporter Ajoy Das further reminded readers that “China’s National Centre for Food Safety Risk Assessment (CFSA) is in the process of drafting a printing standard that will cover both direct and indirect FCM printing ink” (FPF reported) and that a discussion on the introduction of a harmonized regulation for printed food contact materials is also ongoing in the European Union (FPF reported).

Read more

Ajoy Das (September 5, 2019). “India consults on draft printing ink standard for FCMs.Chemical Watch

Ajoy Das (August 28, 2020). “India bans use of toluene in food packaging printing ink.” Chemical Watch


Bureau of Indian Standards (August 2019). “Draft Indian Standard. Printing inks for food packaging—Code of practice.” First revision. CHD14(14457)C