In a press release published on May 28, 2020, the Danish Ministry of Environment and Food confirmed that the country will prohibit the use of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in cardboard and paper food contact materials (FCMs) beginning on July 1, 2020. Such a restriction has been in discussion by Danish authorities since February 2019, and on September 2019 the Danish authorities announced intention for implementation by July 2020 (FPF reported).

A notification published by the European Commission provides more detail on the restriction, background on its development, and responses received from stakeholders during a consultation period. It specifies, however, that cardboard and paper FCMs will still be allowed on the market as long as there is a functional barrier in place to prevent migration into the food. This affects, for example, inks or recycled cardboard or paper containing PFAS.

Previous sampling between 2015 and 2018 by the Danish Food Safety Authority found that almost 50% of sampled cardboard and paper food packaging on the Danish market contained fluorinated compounds. “When we find harmful and environmentally harmful substances in almost half of the analyzed samples, for me as a minister there is no other way but to go for a ban. I have noted that the food industry has accepted the decision because there are solutions other than the fluorinated substances,” said the country’s food minister, Morgens Jensen.

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Danish Ministry of Environment and Food (May 28, 2020). “The Minister of Food bans the use of harmful fluorinated substances in food packaging.” (in Danish)

European Commission (January 2020). “Denmark: Order on food contact materials and on provisions for penalties for breaches of related EU legislation.”

Chemical Watch (May 28, 2020). “Denmark confirms imminent ban on fluorinated substances in FCMs.

SGS (June 1, 2020). “Denmark Bans PFAS Chemicals in Food Contact Paper and Board.”

Keller and Heckman LLP (June 16, 2020). “Denmark’s PFAS Ban in Paper and Cardboard Effective in July 2020.”

Chemical Watch (July 22, 2020). “Danish ban on PFASs in FCMs enters into force.”