In August 2017, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) published the latest meeting minutes of its Scientific Network of the food ingredients and food packaging (FIP) unit on food contact materials (FCMs), short the ‘FIP FCM Network.’ The fifth FIP FCM Network meeting was held on July 10-11, 2017 in Parma, Italy.

One major topic discussed during the meeting was the evaluation of printing inks. The Council of Europe (CoE), the European Commission’s (EC) Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety (DG SANTE), as well as representatives of Germany, Switzerland, and the Netherlands presented their activities regarding printing inks for FCMs. The CoE informed that it is currently revising a technical document (guideline) on packaging inks that addresses testing conditions and methods, and focuses particularly on photo-initiators. DG SANTE reported on the EU measure regulating printed FCMs that is currently under development (FPF  ). “A study to support the work is foreseen to start in 2017, with completion of the project in 2018,” Jonathan Briggs of DG SANTE stated. An EC Roadmap on the printed FCM measure will be published for a four-week stakeholder consultation as soon as timelines have been agreed. Germany and Switzerland informed about the joint safety evaluation of printing inks for FCMs by the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) and the Swiss Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office (FSVO). The two authorities bi-annually discuss toxicological assessments to reach consensus on petition dossiers. The BfR and the FSVO received 6 new petitions in 2016 and 2017. The Netherlands noted that it does not have a positive list in place for colorants and pigments for FCMs. However, there are “restrictions in terms of the amount of specified cations and primary aromatic amines that can be extracted from a colorant or pigment.” Also, specific migration limits apply to specific cations and primary aromatic amines in the final colored product. During the general discussion, it was suggested that the FIP FCM Network could establish a task force on printed FCMs “to gather and share knowledge and experience between interested MSs [(Member States)],” similar to the Network’s interest group on coatings (FPF reported).

Other topics discussed during the meeting include, amongst others, the revision of EFSA’s Note for Guidance (FPF reported), the Netherlands’ leadership in the task force on coatings (FPF reported), EFSA’s Nanonetwork (FPF reported), the European Printing Inks Association’s (EuPIA) safety assessment of printing inks for FCMs (FPF reported), and EFSA’s “OpenFoodTox” database (FPF reported).

The meeting agenda, minutes, as well as the presentations are available on EFSA’s website. The next meeting of the FIP FCM Network is planned for 2018.

Read more

EFSA (August 2017). “Scientific Network of the food ingredients and food packaging (FIP) Unit on food contact materials (FCM), the ‘EFSA FCM Network’ – Minutes of the 5th meeting.(pdf)