A colloquium on “Safety assessment of food packaging and other food contact substances” took place on May 23, 2017 in Maryland, U.S. (FPF reported). This colloquium is the 12th in the series “SOT FDA colloquia on emerging toxicological science: Challenges in food and ingredient safety,” co-organized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Society of Toxicology (SOT). Colloquia recordings can be assessed free of charge at the SOT website.

Several presentations provided an overview of assessment practices adopted by FDA to handle food contact substance notifications, focusing particularly on chemistry considerations and exposure assessment, and less so on toxicological aspects. Further, Mark Maier from Sheperian Toxicology LLC discussed the challenges in developing alternative can coatings to replace bisphenol A (BPA, CAS 80-05-7) use. He gave an overview of the process used by Valspar to develop an alternative coating based on tetramethyl bisphenol F (TMBPF, CAS 5384-21-4) monomer, for which the “evidence of absence” of estrogenic properties has been demonstrated (FPF reported).

During the plenary session, a question from the audience addressed the fact that currently no initiative exists at FDA which would carry out a systematic re-assessment of the “old” substances for which the newly appearing data may indicate a cause for concern. In reply to this question, Michael Adams from the Office of Food Additive Safety (OFAS), Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN), FDA, commented that this “issue of post-market safety review” is very resource-intensive. Therefore, because of the “fairly small office” (138 full-time employees) and the limited funds, and also because the pre-market assessments are given a priority, OFAS is currently not able to address the post-market issues in full.

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SOT (2017). “Safety assessment of food packaging and other food contact substances—May 23, 2017.