On May 27, 2019, the European Food Safety Authority’s (EFSA) Panel on Food Contact Materials, Enzymes and Processing Aids (CEP Panel) published the minutes of the fifth meeting of its Working Group on Food Contact Materials (WG-FCM). The meeting was held on May 7-8, 2019 in Parma, Italy.

The WG-FCM discussed draft opinions on “titanium dioxide treated with fluoride modified aluminia (EFSA-Q-2014-00300),” “untreated wood flour and fibres (FCM No 96) (EFSA-Q2019-00089),“ and the “reaction product of stearyl-diethanol-amine with C18 saturated fatty acids (additive) (EFSA-Q-2016-00510).” A revised draft opinion of the first substance was completed and will now “be scheduled for discussion and possible adoption by the CEP Panel.” For the second substance, the WG-FCM continued their discussion to review whether or not the authorization of untreated wood flour and fibers “is still in accordance with Regulation (EC) No 1935/2004.” For the third substance, the WG-FCM has suspended the scientific evaluation until additionally requested information is submitted by the interested parties.

In addition, the WG-FCM learned about a procedure applied for identification of “emerging chemical risks in the food and feed chain” and “discussed the similarities and differences of this project with the EC mandate on the prioritization of FCM substances without an SML [substance migration limit].”

Further, the group “continued exchanging views on the evaluation of the legislative framework (Regulation (EU) No 1935/2004) on food contact materials.” In the meeting minutes, an extensive summary of the Working Group’s views on the functioning of the current regulation were published. Overall the WG-FCM finds that the “regulation partly achieves its objectives with regards to addressing human health and the interest of consumers.” It notes that “for regulated FCM types, such as plastics, it achieves the task for regulated intentionally added substances. . . but does [only] partly for non-regulated substances used and non-intentionally added substances (NIAS).”

The group called for the present Union list for plastic to “be completed with other IAS [intentionally added substances] not authorized/listed yet” and for “results of the evaluation of NIAS by European and national Authorities [to] be reported.” It says “the safety of other/non-listed migrating chemicals should be addressed” and “for non-harmonized material types, it is desirable to follow the same approach, however the feasibility under the current system is questionable.” It also calls for “more scientific staff to support the Working Groups and Panel in performing more scientific work” both in the current operation of the framework as well as in a revised operation delegating more tasks to EFSA.

The next meeting will take place on June 18-19, 2019 in Zurich, Switzerland.

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EFSA CEP Panel (May 27, 2019). “Minutes of the 5th meeting of the working group on food contact materials 2018-2021.” (pdf)