On February 11-12, 2020, around eighty participants attended Chemical Watch’s third conference on Food Contact Regulations, which took place in Brussels, Belgium. On day one, speakers addressed current and future regulatory trends in Europe and shared their expertise regarding specific food contact materials such as plastics, paper and cardboard, inks, rubber, and adhesives. Risk assessment, circular economy, and international food contact regulations were topics of the second day, which ended with an outlook on how the European regulations on chemicals in food contact materials could look in the future. Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) were the most discussed substance group, with presentations on planned and implemented legal restrictions (FPF reported) as well as initiatives by retailers to remove PFAS from products (FPF reported).

Bastian Schupp, legislative officer at DG SANTE within the European Commission, presented an updated time plan for the ongoing evaluation of the European food contact material (FCM) legislation (FPF reported). While the adoption of the evaluation document by the European Commission was originally planned for the first quarter of 2020, the Commission is now considering to do the impact assessment in parallel and then publish both the evaluation and impact assessment results in the beginning of 2022. Schupp presented that potential elements for future FCM policy include further harmonization, improving the handling and assessment of a large number of substances, and increasing the transparency and responsibility for businesses. More details of the proposed process were covered in an article by Kate Lowe published in Chemical Watch on February 13, 2020. The legal obligation under Article 11(5) of the Plastic Regulation (EC) No 10/2011 to notify the Commission of any new scientific or technical information that might affect the safety assessment of authorised substances is not sufficiently followed by industry, Schupp complained.

Furthermore, Schupp detailed the 15th and 16th amendments of the Plastic Regulation (EC) No 10/2011, which are targeted to enter into force in the second and third quarters of 2020, respectively (FPF reported). The current 10 ppb detection limit for substances that should not be detected at all could be eventually replaced by new substance specific limits applying article 11(4) of the Plastics Regulation.

Schupp also explained the focus and current status of a coordinated control plan to monitor primary aromatic amines, formaldehyde and melamine, phenol, bisphenols, phthalates and non-phthalate plasticizers, fluorinated compounds, metals and overall migration following Recommendation (EU) 2019/794.

The adoption of an amendment to the Plastics Recycling Regulation (EU) No 282/2008 is foreseen for the second quarter of 2020, and Schupp outlined that this amendment is needed before any of the more than 140 recycling processes for plastic FCMs can be authorized by the Commission.

Read more

Chemical Watch. “Food Contact Regulations Europe 2020.

Kate Lowe (February 13, 2020). “EU Commission may delay FCM report by nearly two years.Chemical Watch

Geraint Roberts (February 19, 2020). “Businesses failing to inform Commission of FCM safety updates.” Chemical Watch