From 1999 to Covid-19, how information about food hygiene related to canned drinks has changed
It was February 6, 2005 when, on page 10 of the Evening Courier, Italian morning daily newspaper, an announcement appeared from the Ministry of Health (Department of Prevention and Communication – Office of the Commissioner ad acta) that read as follows:
“Consumptions of canned beverages with a “stay on tab” opening mechanism or with a retractable tab, such as that of any other canned food, require compliance with hygiene conditions, as contamination of the tab may cause, after taking it off, the introduction of microbial agents into the drink. Therefore, while cans should be stored in clean rooms and external surfaces should be kept clean, consumers are recommended to:
● pay close attention to the state of the packaging;
● before opening the container or can with a stay on tab opening mechanism, it is a good hygienic rule to clean the opening area;
● discard or return the dirty container to the seller;
● consume drinks after having poured them into a container suitable for use.”
Years have passed since this and other articles that immediately put us in front of a real danger: what was seen as a moment of relaxation, drinking a drink in a can, could be configured as an endless circle of contamination. Then the Covid, the pandemic, the lockdown, Italy closed in its natural borders, the world closed from country to country, a single fear that has united us all: the transmission of a virus that put the planet in danger by registering 6,938,353 deaths. So, one of the many problems that we have been living with for years made a strong comeback: drinking from cans, as well as being dangerous, is not hygienic.
If in 2005 the Evening Courier made available to the Ministry of Health a space where, like a good family man, reminded us of good practices to follow before drinking our favorite drink in a can, the problem of opening cans and the resulting contamination was already being addressed in 1999, when Codacons (Coordination of the associations for the defense of the environment and the rights of users and consumers), through an appeal to the Lazio regional administrative court, asked the health authorities for a measure to protect the health of consumers, by changing the traditional “stay on tab” opening system. Both the Regional Administrative Court of Lazio and the Council of State granted the requests of Codacons but little or nothing was done, as well as when the issue became the focus of attention again in 2005. With a jump of 15 years, the problem spoke out again stronger than ever with the whole world bent in the face of a health crisis characterized by the spread of Covid-19. In the time of the pandemic, doubts about the safety of drinking in cans have become more and more legitimate and the literature on the subject has once again emerged.
A 2018 Anglo-Saxon study, in particular, verified the state of cleanliness, the contamination of bacteria by hands and their survival in warehouses. This study showed that little less than 200 cans analyzed before contact with hands revealed the presence of proteins in 46% of them, hygienic state at risk for 31% and medium danger slightly less than 22%. Moving on to contact with E.Coli contaminated hands, (E.Coli simply appears on unwashed hands after going to the toilet) cans showed bacteria in 50% of cases when wet and 30% when dry. In general, bacteria survive for up to 14 days.
So much news that revolves around this delicate topic, so much fake news carried out over the years. Talking about a risk of contamination during the bottling process, in 2023, well, this seems really far-fetched. That this increases in the logistical stages after delivery, such as in the Distribution Centers or at the beverage wholesalers, in this case we can say it is much more likely. A risk of contamination that is medium in the organized retail, where on the shelves we find different products, or in the small independent retailers, where the manipulation is high, and that becomes increasingly high in the commercial and collective catering, where different hands of different people come into contact with the cans.
FOOD HYGIENE AND CAN PACKAGING: ECOCAP’S AND TOPSYL ON THE SIDE OF BEVERAGE COMPANIES AND CONSUMERS
If in the past many fake news and stories of cases of diseases contracted and hospitalizations as a result of consumption acts from dirty cans have been exposed, the need to protect the large contact area between the mouth and the pouring point of the can remains an important necessity, especially with regard to all post-distribution handling steps.
Ecocap’s and Topsyl are part of the safety discourse applied to canned drinks with an eye always open to environmental sustainability. Product safety, consumer safety at the time of consumption and respect for the environment: the revolutionary worldwide patent by Ecocap’s sets a new standard in the packaging of cans. A complete and ready-to-use system that can be applied to any type and format of beverage in can, its name is Topsyl and is a seal on the opening of the can that, thanks to an exclusive technology, becomes much more than a safe protection.
In particular, Topsyl:
● protects cans as soon as they are filled, safeguarding products and consumers;
● is an aluminum “second skin” that adheres to the can and seals the entire surface of the can on the opening side throughout its life cycle;
● does not allow the formation of humidity between the protection and the can, preventing the formation of mold and the proliferation of bacteria;
● is 100% ecological and recyclable, ensuring a packaging with a very low environmental impact: the aluminum seal, fixed to the can, cannot be dumped in nature and is recyclable.
● transforms the top of the can into a targeted means of communication, differentiated by market, distribution channel and customer.
Discover with us how to integrate an Ecocap’s Can Packaging Machine into your production line and turn your marketing efforts around with Topsyl and its personalized communication!