On January 24, 2017 the European Commission’s (EC) Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety (DG SANTE) published the summary of the latest meeting of the Working Group on food contact materials (FCMs) of the toxicological safety section of the Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food And Feed (SC-PAFF). The meeting was held on December 5, 2017 in Brussels, Belgium and items on the agenda included the EC’s Joint Research Center (JRC) baseline study on FCMs (FPF reported), Union Measure on printed FCMs, the European Food Safety Authority’s (EFSA) opinion on future guidelines, information in the supply chain, and authorization of recycling processes (FPF reported).

The JRC presented the findings of its baseline study that reviewed the regulatory situation for FCMs with no specific EU-wide measures (FPF reported). The EC expressed “the intention to carry out an ex-post evaluation of the current situation at EU level to understand whether the current framework is effective, efficient and sustainable and whether the EU procedures are adequate.” The evaluation will build on JRC’s baseline study and address “the way forward concerning current measures as well as possible future harmonization” (FPF reported).

Regarding printed FCMs, the EC announced a new initiative on a Union Measure that it will undertake in 2017 and foreseeably adopt in 2018 (FPF reported). The measure is being prepared internally and will be discussed in working groups during 2017.

The EC also explained that a consultation on EFSA’s opinion on future guidelines (i.e. EFSA opinion on safety assessment of FCMs, FPF reported) is postponed. Therefore, any further work on the plastic FCM regulation (EU) No 10/2011 (except for authorizations) will also be postponed.

The EC further informed about an investigation on information transfer in the supply chain. On January 19, 2017 the EC therefore opened a survey on the use of compliance documentation in the supply chain, directed at competent authorities, stakeholder associations, and business operators (FPF reported). The survey will assess the functioning of Articles 15 and 16 of the plastic FCM regulation, referring to the Declaration of Compliance (DOC) and the Supporting Documentation, respectively. The survey will also inform “the development of future measures at EU level,” particularly the measure on printed FCMs.

No discussions were held regarding the authorization of recycling processes.

Finally, the EC presented its planned activities for 2017. Some Member States stressed “the need to work on biocides in FCMs.” The EC also explained that progress of the draft measure on bisphenol A (BPA, CAS 80-05-7) was postponed until the adoption of the measures on endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs).

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Working Group on food contact materials of the toxicological safety section of the Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed (SC-PAFF) (January 24, 2017). “Summary – Meeting 5 December 2017.(pdf)