Hope all is well!
I am a QA Manager for a Blown Film/Extruder for direct contact food packaging. My background is 8 years in R&D/QA for food processing facilities and the last 2 years with food packaging. Over my last 2 years, much has changed at my company. I do have senior management support, but their understanding of a root cause analysis and risk analysis require more educating and understanding.
There has been a 0.045% complaints of Black Carbon found in my packaging. Black Carbon, per my management, is charcoal/over baked plastic resin.
After some research, I found that this is inert and is not harmful. The carbon is embedded in the finished bag/sheet and will not release into the product. We have historical data and lab analysis that has proven that there are no harmful side affects if ingested or migrates into the finished products.
Based on my education, experience and knowledge, we should be able to prevent or minimize carbon complaints from occurring. After complaint trend and volume produced, you would be able to win the lottery a couple times before you can find carbon in our bags.
Due to the nature of extruding, the plant and senior management has stood their ground and stated this is apart of the process.
It is very hard for my position to say that "this is apart of our process and we can only minimize but not prevent."
I've implemented a few things which has minimize foreign contaminants to be embedded in to the packaging, which are: increase sanitation of equipment, use of better materials, Increase in PM (preventative maintenance), but there is carbon still found.
In your knowledge, history or experience, have you dealt with Carbon in Packaging? If so, was it ever eliminated? Would you recommending accepting that it is part of the process and try to minimize?
FOR MY 3rd PARTY AUDITS
As supporting information during the 3rd Party audits, we are taking a firm stance about black carbon being apart of the process and are using as supporting documents that analyze that it is not harmful if ingested or found in food (with lab support and historical data).
Hopefully I was clear about Carbon and my questions. Have a great rest of your week.