On December 21, 2016 the European Commission’s (EC) Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety (DG SANTE) published the summary of the September 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 took place on September 8-9, 2016 in Brussels, Belgium and items on the agenda included migration testing guidelines, the 7th amendment to the plastic FCM regulation ((EU) No 10/2011), the monitoring of mineral oil hydrocarbons in food and FCMs, the authorization of recycling processes, and the European Food Safety Authority’s (EFSA) Scientific Opinion on the safety assessment of FCMs (FPF reported).

Regarding the migration testing guidelines, the EC’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) stated that “the document should now be put into practice and additional specific comments could be considered in the future.” The guidelines shall be “published in due course on the JRC website with a link from DG SANTE website.”

Regarding the 7th amendment to the plastic FCM regulation, Overall Migration (OM) testing in dry foods was discussed and the wording in point 4 of Annex III and in point 8 (iii) of Annex IV shall be clarified. Also, “it was agreed appropriate to assign a migration limit for nickel from plastic food contact materials of 0.02 mg/kg and added to Annex II of the Regulation.”

The Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI) gave a presentation in the context of the EC’s recommendation on the monitoring of mineral oil hydrocarbons in food and FCMs. The content and layout of the recommendation were discussed and there was agreement that “work was first required on methodology” and “accompanying guidelines would need to be developed” by the European Union Reference Laboratories (EURLs) with the help from EU Member States (MS). The EC presented a revised version of the recommendation on the second day of the meeting “with which the meeting participants were in general agreement.”

Authorization of recycling processes was discussed shortly and “will be discussed in more detail at the next Working Group meeting with an additional Task Force meeting.”

EFSA presented the Panel on Food Contact Materials, Enzymes, Flavourings and Processing Aids’ (CEF Panel) Scientific Opinion on “Recent developments in the risk assessment of chemicals in food and their potential impact on the safety assessment of substances used in food contact materials” (FPF reported). The Plastics Consortium Group (PCG; including the Food Contact Additives Sector Group of the European Chemical Industry Council (Cefic-FCA), European Plastics Converters (EuPC), Flexible Packaging Europe (FPE), and PlasticsEurope) presented its perspective on the Opinion. The EC and MS discussed “the potential impact of the Opinion on the current legislative approach.”

The EC also informed that it will be handing out hard copy FCM leaflets to MS.

The last meeting of the FCM working group was held on December 5, 2016 and agenda items included JRC’s baseline study on FCMs (FPF reported), Union Measure on printed FCMs, EFSA’s opinion on future guidelines, information in the supply chain, and authorization of recycling processes. The summary of the meeting is not yet available; however, the EC’s presentation slides from the meeting can be found on DG SANTE’s website. The next meeting is scheduled for January 30-31, 2017, where the main discussion will focus on the draft 8th amendment to the plastics FCM regulation and the authorization of recycling processes.

Read more

Working Group on food contact materials of the toxicological safety section of the Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed (SC-PAFF) (December 21, 2016). “Summary – Meeting 8-9 September 2016. (pdf)