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Speciality Inks: What is Food Grade Ink and Where is it Used?

Speciality Inks: What is Food Grade Ink and Where is it Used?

In this blog, we take a look at one of the many speciality inks available at Needham Ink Technologies; Food Grade Ink. While you might not realise it, food grade ink can be found everywhere! From your dozen eggs to your can of fizzy pop, food grade ink is used to ensure safety for consumption. So what is it, and how does it work? Keep reading to find out.

What is Food Grade Ink?


Designed with consumer safety in mind, food‑grade ink is a safe, fast-drying, and odourless ink formulated specifically for substrates associated with food and beverage product packaging. Safety is a necessity when it comes to any ink, but it’s particularly important for printing on food and beverage packaging substrates that are composed of a wide variety of different materials.

 Food-grade ink is a specific formulation of ink that is produced to be compatible with inkjet printers, and which can be printed either directly onto food or onto food packaging without posing any risk or harm to those consuming the food items. While traditional solvent-based inks are manufactured using methyl ethyl ketone (MEK) which is toxic to humans and animals, food-grade inks typically use food-grade ethanol; food-grade ethanol is a powerful natural human-safe solvent due to its purity and lack of additives and is useful for lots of food-safe applications that may come in contact with people.

Inks used in CIJ printers for coding onto food and pharmaceutical products are subject to regulations set out by national governing bodies. Needham Ink Tech food-grade inks are designed to meet these regulations and can be used to code in both food and pharmaceutical applications.



Where is Food Grade Ink USed?


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Flexible Plastics and Film-Based Packaging

We produce a wide range of inks suitable for food packaging bags, cups, pouches, trays, shrink wrap, PET and films designed to be fast-drying, abrasion-resistant and remain legible when flexed. Our products include inks designed for use in non-contact & thermal transfer printers, with different viscosities and properties to meet the task at hand, perfect for high volume manufacturing environments.

Food & Beverage Packaging

Designed for soups, vegetables, sauces and drinks in aluminium and tin-free steel cans, our range of metal adhesion inks provide consistently clear coding. We produce a range of “off-the-shelf” inks designed for use with most printer brands and models in this sector, further to this, you will find an expansive range of thermochromic inks (these change colour when cans have been steam sterilised).


glass cola bottle
Glass bottle ink

As a global provider to many companies in this industry, you will find our inks to be highly effective, possess outstanding contrast and have superior adhesion on wet glass compared to most other brands. Our range is extensive with everything from white inks for darker backgrounds to removable inks for returnable bottles to exceptional invisible inks (nude) for traceability (only visible under UV) in a very diverse spectrum of colours.



You won't find an egg without a mark printed onto it if it's being sold from a large farm or facility. The 
egg marking ink we produce is formulated to comply with food safety standards and is applied directly onto the egg. Our egg ink helps businesses worldwide to correctly label products and meet quality standards.


How can needham ink tech help?


We hope that this blog has helped to shed some light on the uses and benefits of food-grade ink technologies. Here at Needham Ink Technologies, we have decades of experience in providing reliable coding solutions and consumables you can rely on.

In need of something a bit more bespoke? Not a problem! Our in-house team of chemists are able to research and develop wide format inkjet inks specific to your requirements.

Email Us

Call: +44(0)1948 662629



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