In an article published by regulatory news provider Chemical Watch on July 26, 2019, guest columnist Jori Ringman from the Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI) called for the EU to prioritize development of binding regulations for paper and board food contact materials (FCMs). In April 2019, Cepi released a revised version of its voluntary industry guidelines for ensuring the safety and compliance of paper and board FCMs (FPF reported). Ringman wrote that “while our revised guidelines provide a methodology to demonstrate the suitability of paper and board for a variety of food contact applications, unfortunately, they have no legal weight. Their use is voluntary and they can be used separately or together with other existing compliance mechanisms.”

Paper and board FCMs, he advocated, can play an important role in the transition to a circular economy. Specifically, “at a rate of 82%, more paper and board packaging material is recycled each year than all other packaging material sectors combined. . . We believe that the paper and board industry has a unique selling point in that context, because we are already operating a low-carbon, renewable and circular economy.” However, he explained that “the lack of a specific EU-wide measure for paper and board has created a potential disadvantage in the market because compliance for these materials is perceived, perhaps unjustly, to be less clear than for plastics in contact with food.” To address this disadvantage, Cepi is “calling on EU institutions to consider the absence of binding measures addressing food safety for [CEPI’s] materials, and to choose paper and board as their next priority for regulation.”

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Jori Ringman (July 26, 2019). “Guest Column: Cepi calls on EU to prioritise paper and board regulation.” Chemical Watch