On April 20-21, 2017 in Brussels, Belgium, the European Plastic Converters Association (EuPC), together with Polymer Comply Europe (PCE), held a Food Contact Plastics Seminar themed “Assessing and managing risks: Recent and upcoming developments” (FPF reported). The program featured five thematic sessions with speakers from research organizations, industry associations, food and packaging companies, and regulatory authorities, including the European Commission (EC).

Dario Danelli from packaging company Sealed Air commented on the European Food Safety Authority’s (EFSA) opinion on the safety assessment of FCMs that was published in January 2016 (FPF reported). He highlighted that the opinion bases the estimation of consumers’ exposure to chemicals migrating from FCMs entirely on dietary intake data, but does not consider packaging use factors. This approach is likely to yield a large overestimation of exposure and hence does not present a system more realistic than the ‘EU cube’ (i.e. consumption of 1 kg food per person (60 kg), in contact with 6 dm2 of packaging, with 100% migration of target substance), Danelli judged. However, he sees EFSA’s opinion as a valuable step in the development of a new exposure-based legislation approach for all FCMs.

Sebastian Gierisch from the European Printing Inks Association (EuPIA) presented the association’s approach to addressing and managing risks of printing inks for FCMs. In November 2016, EuPIA published the third edition of its exclusion policy for printing inks. The policy applies generally to printing inks and by default excludes the use of toxic (e.g. carcinogenic, mutagenic, reprotoxic) raw materials. The policy is built on hazard-based criteria; however, it includes elements of risk assessment in case of reclassification of substances that cannot readily be substituted. In March 2016, EuPIA also updated its Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) for printing inks used for FCMs (FPF reported). Most recently, in January 2017, EuPIA published a guidance for the risk assessment of non-intentionally added substances (NIAS) and non-listed substances (NLS) migrating from printing inks used for FCMs. Lastly, Gierisch informed about EuPIA’s Statement of Composition (SOC) template, aiming to ensure adequate information exchange in the supply chain.

Bastiaan Schupp from the European Commission’s (EC) Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety (DG SANTE) reported on the state of play regarding the plastics FCM regulation (EU) No 10/2011. He noted that there are not many new announcements since his presentation at the conference on “Plastics and paper in food contact (Smithers Pira)” in December 2016 (FPF reported). Nevertheless, he informed that the EC aims to publish the 7th amendment to the plastics regulation in the second quarter of 2017 and the 8th amendment is under preparation. The tentative timeline for the ex-post evaluation of the FCM framework regulation (EC) No 1935/2004 is as follows: Preparation of the study in the second quarter of 2017; work by the external contractor in the third and fourth quarter of 2017; discussion, conclusion, and way forward from the study in the first quarter of 2018. The Union Measure for printed FCMs is expected to be adopted by mid-2018. Regarding DG SANTE’s consultation on information in the supply chain (FPF reported), Schupp reported that around 230 responses have been received from industry and EU Member States, as well 68 from associations. The evaluation of the survey is in progress.

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EuPC (2017). “Food Contact Plastics Seminar – Assessing and managing risks: Recent and upcoming developments.(pdf)