On January 18, 2017 the European Commission’s (EC) Joint Research Centre (JRC) published the final report of its baseline study on “Non-harmonised food contact materials in the EU: Regulatory and market situation.” The study was commissioned by the EC’s Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety (DG SANTE) in late 2014. In the study a review is provided of the “frameworks for food safety compliance and burden of having only national legislation” for food contact materials (FCMs) that are not covered by EU-wide specific measures (FPF reported). The baseline study found four main shortcomings to the current situation:
1) Common guidelines for and transparency in risk assessment (RA) are lacking across EU Member States (MS). The requirements for authorization of a substance differ among MS and often from EFSA’s practice.
2) National measures are not always easily accessible, nor consistently structured or sufficiently detailed. Common standards for food safety requirements and good manufacturing practice (GMP) are needed; the Declaration of Compliance (DoC) and supporting documents need quality criteria.
3) Disparities among national lists of authorized substances (i.e. nature of substances, imposed restrictions, numerical values) lead to multiple testing requirements and complicate mutual recognition.
4) Testing methods for enforcement and compliance are lacking, making it difficult to demonstrate that food safety is consistently ensured. Also, there is a gap in quantitative indicators on efficiency and effectiveness.
A publicly accessible online tool will be made available by DG SANTE providing information on existing FCM legislation in different MS, a list of substances for use in different FCMs, as well as a market overview for all FCMs (FPF reported).
JRC (January 18, 2017). “Mapping the industry and regulatory frameworks for food contact materials to support better regulation.”
Vanessa Zainzinger (January 24, 2017). “JRC study flags ‘flawed’ system of FCM legislation.” Chemical Watch
Simoneau, C., et al. (2016). “Non-harmonised food contact materials in the EU: Regulatory and market situation – Baseline study: Final report.” JRC EUR 28357 EN.