In an article published on April 25, 2017 by the UK-based non-profit organization CHEM Trust, Charlotte Coquard provides a summary of the latest developments regarding the regulation of chemicals in food contact materials (FCMs) in the EU. Two recent EU publications are highlighted by Coquard: The European Parliament’s (EP) report on the implementation of the FCM framework regulation (EC) No 1935/2004 (FPF reported; FPF background article) and the European Commission (EC) Joint Research Centre’s (JRC) baseline study on non-harmonized FCMs (FPF reported). Both publications find shortcomings in the current EU regulatory system for FCMs and show the need for harmonized regulation of all types of FCMs.

In light of this situation, Bastian Schupp from the EC’s Directorate-General on Health and Food Safety (DG SANTE) announced that the EC will carry out an ex-post evaluation of the FCM framework regulation, assessing whether the regulatory system in place is adequate (FPF reported). Also, the EC will develop a new harmonized measure on printed FCMs that shall be adopted in 2018 (FPF reported).

Another publication highlighted by Coquard is the Food Packaging Forum’s recent scientific study on the use and migration of substances of very high concern (SVHCs) in FCMs (FPF reported; FPF webinar). The study identified ten SVHCs that are legally authorized for use in FCMs and/or are listed in FCM inventories. Five of the ten SVHCs are regularly detected to migrate from FCMs into food. These results point out “the lack of coordination between the EU’s main chemicals law REACH and the EU laws on chemicals in food contact materials,” Coquard writes.

Michael Warhurst, executive director of CHEM Trust, stated: “It is not acceptable that substances of very high concern, such as those that are carcinogenic or toxic for reproduction, are still used in materials in contact with food.” He added that “the [regulatory] system also doesn’t work for businesses, creating a complex situation, lacking in both clarity and protection.”

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Charlotte Coquard (April 25, 2017). “As concerns mount, EU Commission finally commits to action on laws regulating chemicals in packaging.CHEM Trust