On August 5, 2016 the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) published the latest meeting minutes of its Food Ingredients and Packaging (FIP) Scientific Network on food contact materials (FCMs). The third FIP-FCM meeting was held on May 24-26, 2016 in Parma, Italy.

Laurence Castle of EFSA’s Panel on Food Contact Materials, Enzymes, Flavourings and Processing Aids (CEF Panel) presented CEF’s scientific opinion on the safety assessment of FCMs (FPF reported). Meeting participants “questioned whether endocrine activity should be tested for any tier and not only in case of existing data indicating such activity or high exposure.”

French FIP representative Bruno Teste presented the French draft guidance on non-harmonized FCMs. The guidance shall “indicate all needed information for ANSES [(French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety)] to perform risk assessment,” including two decision trees for non-intentionally added substances (NIAS). The French guidelines shall be published by the end of 2016.

Belgian FIP representative Fabien Bolle gave an introduction to the Belgian database of substances known to be used in FCMs in Member States of the Council of Europe. The database includes about 10,000 substances, indicating their CAS number, presence in different lists, and results from different toxicological prediction softwares.

Jonathan Briggs of the European Commission’s (EC) Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety (DG SANTE) gave an update on the EC’s baseline study on non-harmonized FCMs (FPF reported). Meeting participants noted that “awareness of national legislations could support mutual recognition between Member States” and thus “translation of the main national legislations is considered of high priority.” The baseline study was announced to be finalized by summer 2016.

Eddo Hoekstra of the EC’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) informed about the JRC draft guidelines on plastic migration testing taking into account the 6th amendment of the plastic FMC regulation (FPF reported).

Peter Oldring of the industry platform for non-EU harmonized FCMs addressed the application of plastics testing conditions for non-plastic FCMs. Oldring informed that “18 professional [industry] associations are participating in an initiative to propose testing conditions for their classes of FCMs” where plastics testing conditions are inappropriate.

Catherine Simoneau of JRC presented JRC’s investigations on the release of metals from ceramics ware, crystal ware, and bake ware into foodstuffs and simulants. JRC’s work provides information for a potential revision and expansion of scope of Directive 84/500/EEC on ceramic food contact articles, foreseen by the end of 2016.

Danish FIP representative Gitte Alsing Pedersen presented the plan for a Danish regulation on fluorinated substances in paper and board, as well as a testing strategy for paper and board FCMs. Gitte informed that “since August 2015, a Danish national recommendation restricts the use of fluorinated substances to 0.35 µg total organic fluorine/dm2 paper and board with the aim to reduce the potential human exposure of fluorinated substances intentionally used” (FPF reported). EFSA informed that it is currently preparing a scientific opinion on the evaluation of perfluoroalkylated substances, for which the deadline is July 2017.

Spanish FIP representative Perfecto Paseiro presented a Spanish research project on exposure to chemicals from food packaging with a special focus on pre-polymers.

Further topics of discussion included Benchmark Dose (BMD) modeling and computational toxicology and modeling tools, EFSA’s Document Management System (DMS), the EFSA comprehensive food consumption database, EFSA’s project on Transparency and Engagement in Risk Assessment (TERA), further activities of EFSA and of the Council of Europe, the German research projects on migration from elastomers and on metal release from metals and alloys, the French research project on the determination of rubber specific simulant(s), evaluation of NIAS including oligomers, as well as Member States cooperation on safety evaluation. The next FIP-FCM meeting will be organized in 2017.

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EFSA (August 5, 2016). “Scientific network of the food ingredients and food packaging (FIP) unit ‘FIP Network’ – Subgroup on food contact materials (FCM) – Minutes of the 3rd meeting.(pdf)