In an article on August 6, 2020, regulatory news provider Chemical Watch reported on a recent guidance document published by the Australian Department of Health concerning the categorization of chemicals used in food contact articles (FCAs) under the country’s new regulatory scheme. Known as the Australian Industrial Chemicals Introduction Scheme (AICIS), the scheme came into force on July 1, 2020, and it requires all industrial chemical importers and manufactures to categorize their chemicals as either “exempted”, “reported”, or “assessed” using a six-step guide.

Chemicals introduced under the scheme in volumes greater than 100 kg, present in FCAs, and are not categorized as “exempted” or “reported” require a “specified class of introduction.” This process additionally mandates providing testing results of specific target organ toxicity after repeated exposure. Substances that have not been internationally assessed for human health also require additional record-keeping obligations including (i) approvals of the substance in FCAs by any foreign government agencies and (ii) quantitative information on the migration of the substance from the FCA into food. Specific exceptions exist and are detailed in the guidance document.

Chemicals contained in an article that comes into contact with food (including food wrapping, food containers, and coatings on the inside of cans or water storage tanks) are affected by these special requirements. Chemicals that are contained in cardboard packaging that does not directly contact the food are specified as not being affected.

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Australian Department of Health (August 2020). “Categorisation of chemicals with an end use in articles with food contact.

Chemical Watch (August 6, 2020). “Australia sets out guidance for food contact articles and cosmetics.”