On June 6, 2014 the European Commission invited stakeholders from Member States and industry to discuss pertinent issues related to regulatory action on food contact materials (FCMs) in Brussels, Belgium. During the meeting the European Commission’s Directorate General for Health and Consumers (DG SANCO) announced that according to the current timing authorization decisions of recycling processes will be presented to the standing committee in the 2nd quarter of 2015. In accordance with regulation EC 282/2008, the roughly 70 process evaluations carried out by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) as part of the initial authorization phase will be used by DG SANCO and member state representatives to take a risk management decision. Based on these risk management decisions, authorization decisions will be taken. They are to be presented to representatives from EU governments and public authorities in the standing committee for endorsement in early summer 2015. In order to prepare these authorisations the Commission Services introduced a possible authorization approach to obtain the views of the stakeholders. DG Sanco pointed out that ensuring adequate compliance monitoring is a difficult but very important part of the authorization process, as the safety of a recycling process relies on the process’ operation.
Further, the revised guidelines for migration testing were discussed. A finalized draft of the migration testing guidelines for plastic FCM is expected by the end of October 2014 and may be presented to the standing committee later that year, possibly together with the 5th amendment to regulation EC 10/2011.
As a third item, a representative from Belgium presented the Council of Europe’s (CoE) work on FCMs and pointed out that CoE resolutions covering materials not currently regulated by specific measures under European law are available. As such a resolution on metals and alloys was adopted in June 2013. Further, a database of substances used in food contact covering almost 10 000 substances was launched earlier in 2014. The current priorities of the CoE include resolving some additional issues regarding alloys, the maintenance of the new food contact substance database, and addressing printing inks, coatings and cork FCMs.