On July 13, 2016 the European Food Safety Authority’s (EFSA) Panel on Food Contact Materials, Enzymes, Flavorings and Processing Aids (CEF Panel) published two scientific opinions on the safety assessment of ground sunflower seed hulls and diethyl[[3,5-bis(1,1-dimethylethyl)-4-hydroxyphenyl]methyl]phosphonate, respectively, for use in food contact materials (FCMs).
The safety of ground sunflower seed hulls was assessed for use as an additive at up to 50% weight by weight (w/w) in plastics such as polypropylene (PP). The plastics used are processed at up to 240°C and intended for contact with dry foods at room temperature or below. CEF Panel noted that no migration is foreseeable for the additive and “no genotoxicity data are required as it is a large polymer [(mainly lignocellulose, CAS 0011132-73-3)] which will not be absorbed by the cells used in genotoxicity tests.” In terms of impurities, as well as reaction and degradation products, migration of up to 54 mg/kg was measured for the sum of four natural fatty acids. Migration of all other substances was either not detectable (< 30 μg/kg) or at low concentrations. The CEF Panel concluded that ground sunflower seed hulls are safe for consumers if used as an additive in plastics intended for contact with dry foods at room temperature or below. The hulls should originate from sunflower seeds fit for human consumption and the plastic containing the additive should be processed at temperatures no higher than 240°C.
The safety of diethyl[[3,5-bis(1,1-dimethylethyl)-4-hydroxyphenyl]methyl]phosphonate (CAS 976-56-7) was evaluated for use in the polymerization reaction to make polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic. The substance functions as a component of the backbone of the polymer and as an antioxidant, providing thermal stability to the polyester during heat processing. The finished plastics are intended for contact with all types of food under any condition of time and temperature. According to a set of migration tests with a PET sample containing 0.2% w/w of the substance, migration of the substance was not detectable (detection limit 3-6 μg/kg) and migration of impurities and reaction products was below 2 μg/kg. The CEF Panel found no evidence of genotoxicity for the substance and sees no concern for neurotoxicity because of its low migration. Also the impurities and reaction products “do not give rise to safety concern.” Therefore, the CEF Panel concluded that diethyl[[3,5-bis(1,1-dimethylethyl)-4-hydroxyphenyl]methyl]phosphonate is safe for consumers if used up to 0.2% w/w in the polymerization to make PET intended for contact with all types of foods under any contact conditions.