On May 6, 2021, the European Commission (EC), the EU Member States, and Members of the EU Food Fraud Network have agreed to launch an EU Enforcement Action Plan on plastic food contact materials (FCMs) made with bamboo powder as an additive. This new EU enforcement aims to ensure that plastic products which contain plant-based additives not complying with EU rules do not enter the EU market and that taxes for wrongly declared plastic products are recovered. It further includes awareness-raising of consumers on the issue and that Member States’ enforcement and competent authorities remind business operators of the products’ illegality.
The plan was developed as a result of several dozen notifications in the Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF) and the Administrative Assistance and Cooperation System (AAC) related to FCMs made of ground bamboo between 2019 and 2021. Most non-compliances “related to the unauthorised use of bamboo additive as a filler and/or the mislabeling of products falsely declared as made of 100% bamboo.” The use of bamboo and other plant-based additives in plastic FCMs is illegal in the EU since they are not authorized by the EU regulation on plastic FCMs (FPF reported). Migration studies have demonstrated that bamboo-containing plastics leach melamine (FPF reported and here), a compound that has been associated with impacts on neurological functions, behavior, reproduction, and growth (FPF reported) and that was also classified as “possibly carcinogenic to humans” (FPF reported).