News – Food Packaging Forum https://www.foodpackagingforum.org The Food Packaging Forum makes scientific facts and expert opinions about food packaging health accessible and understandable to all Mon, 23 Nov 2020 15:55:14 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Ellen MacArthur Foundation publishes new upstream innovation guide https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/ellen-macarthur-foundation-publishes-new-upstream-innovation-guide https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/ellen-macarthur-foundation-publishes-new-upstream-innovation-guide#respond Mon, 23 Nov 2020 12:22:22 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=327843 New report on upstream innovation introduces mindset, gives guidance to implement elimination, reuse, and material recirculation; demonstrates successful implementation in several case studies; provides interactive resources to stakeholders

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On November 20, 2019, The Ellen MacArthur Foundation announced the release of a new upstream innovation guide offering practical advice for reducing plastic pollution and real-world examples already at the design stage. The document, with a focus on upstream innovation, was designed for stakeholders directly or indirectly involved in packaging. It advocates preventing waste generation by implementing improvements already during the development of a product.

The document (1) introduces a triangular concept of upstream innovation, (2) offers guidance and examples on how to apply the three key strategies of elimination, reuse, and material recirculation, (3) explains how to support and make decisions while innovating upstream processes as well as (4) demonstrated with several case studies how other businesses implemented their upstream innovation.

Apart from the guide itself, the authors also provide an interactive website, which further links to a searchable database of case studies, a workshop toolkit, a communications pack, presentation slides as well as a set of explanatory YouTube videos.

This guide represents a follow-up to the organization’s “Second New Plastics Economy Global Commitment Progress report” (FPF reported) which stated that businesses need to “step up elimination and reuse if to meet 2025 plastic pollution targets.”

Read More

Ellen MacArthur Foundation (November 19, 2020). “New Upstream Innovation guide offers practical solutions to the plastic pollution crisis.

Ellen MacArthur Foundation (November 5, 2020). “Global Commitment 2020 Progress Report published.

Ellen MacArthur Foundation (November 2020). “Upstream Innovation: A guide to packaging solutions.”

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US government and stakeholders debate how to improve recycling https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/us-government-and-stakeholders-debate-how-to-improve-recycling https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/us-government-and-stakeholders-debate-how-to-improve-recycling#respond Mon, 23 Nov 2020 12:15:41 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=327841 US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sets target national recycling rate of 50% by 2030; stakeholders identify recycling data gaps as key limitation; call for new national standards and legislation improving reporting, use of recycled content; upcoming changes in government administration create uncertainty

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In a series of recent articles, multiple stakeholder groups discussed some of the factors hindering needed improvements to the US recycling system as well as recent efforts to move forward towards a circular economy.

In an article written by news provider Waste Dive on November 18, 2020, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is reported to have recently announced a goal to achieve a national recycling rate of 50% by 2030. This target has been set alongside a new national recycling strategy that the EPA has opened for public comment until December 4, 2020 (FPF reported). However, with the current US recycling rate found to have recently dropped to near 32% and following the failure of previous federal efforts to implement a national recycling improvement strategy in the 1990s, this could prove to be a challenge. The US was also recently identified by a study as a global leader in contributing to ocean plastic pollution (FPF reported).

In a blog article published on November 18, 2020, the Consumer Brands Association (CBA) points to the lack of accurate recycling data as a key stumbling block in improving the existing system. The organization explains that this stems from recycling in the US being based on a fragmented system with thousands of municipalities and private waste management operators, each with its own standards and processes. “Bottom line: you can’t manage what you can’t measure and today, the United States can’t reliably measure our recycling rate.” CBA is calling for lawmakers to create legislation “that will standardize recycling reporting, giving each system uniform tools and guidelines.”

Industry association the American Chemistry Council (ACC) also announced that the US plastics industry has proposed a set of guiding principles to create a more circular system in the country. In addition to national recycling standards, it is calling for higher multi-material and packaging fees to fund collection programs, legislation requiring the use of recycled content, and more official recognition of new recycling technologies. It reports progress made towards a circular economy through a range of new recycling projects across the US. However, recycling based on chemical and plastic-to-fuel technologies have come under increasing scrutiny from other stakeholders for their economic viability and potentially limited circularity (FPF reported).

In a report published by investment firm Closed Loop Partners, the organization points to what it sees as a recent shift towards a better recycling system, specifically with “four key drivers – market forces, recent innovations, changing policy and groundbreaking partnerships – push[ing] circularity forward.” It argues that “in North America and around the world, supply chain disruptions, growing amounts of waste, and health and safety risks have called attention to the flaws of business-as-usual” and thanks to “growing investments and interest in less wasteful systems, the circular economy in North America is in the midst of a sea change.”

The changing political landscape is also being seen as having an important effect. Following the recent elections, voters in the state of Georgia approved a constitutional amendment requiring the state government to use fees or taxes collected for a specific purpose to later be spent only on financing that same purpose. News provider Waste Dive reports that this could have large implications for improving waste management in the state, especially given that less than a third of collected waste fees were previously spent to operate and improve the waste system.

Discussions are also ongoing about a number of draft national recycling bills, many of which specifically target the reduction of plastic pollution. With a shift in federal and state-level administrations set to take place in January 2021, it is still to be seen, however, how all of these initiatives will play out, and whether or not they really can help bring up the country’s recycling rate and meet existing targets set by governments and other stakeholders.

Read More

Cole Rosengren (November 18, 2020). “EPA sets 2030 national recycling goal, stakeholders call for more federal action.” Waste Dive

Meghan Stasz (November 13, 2020). “Standardized Data is the First Step to Saving American Recycling.” CBA

ACC (November 17, 2020). “America’s Plastic Makers Invite Collaboration with Congress to Help Create More Circular and Sustainable Systems for Plastics Collection and Recovery.”

ACC (November 20, 2020). “America’s Plastic Makers Applaud EPA’s First-Ever National Recycling Goal, Call on Congress to Support.”

Closed Loop Partners (September 23, 2020). “Closed Loop Partners Launches Report on Unprecedented Shifts in the Circular Economy in North America.”

Cole Rosengren (November 19, 2020). “Urgency around climate change, plastics ramps up circular economy interest in US.” Waste Dive

Leslie Nemo (November 13, 2020). “Georgia voters approve ballot measure that could direct millions to new recycling efforts.” Waste Dive

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FDA adds thirteen substances to food contact inventory https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/fda-adds-thirteen-substances-to-food-contact-inventory https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/fda-adds-thirteen-substances-to-food-contact-inventory#respond Fri, 20 Nov 2020 13:52:13 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=327838 US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) adds 13 new entries to its Inventory of Effective Food Contact Substance (FCS); notifications submitted since August 6, 2020

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In an article published on November 19, 2020, law firm Keller and Heckman LLP (KH) informed that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has added thirteen additional entries to its Inventory of Effective Food Contact Substance (FCS) Notifications. Food contact substances within the inventory are those that “have been demonstrated to be safe for their intended use.” The new substances are included in the following entry numbers:

  • 2079: Ethanol, 2-amino- (CAS 141-43-5); replaces FCN 1756
  • 2076: Tris(2,4-di-tert-butylphenyl)phosphite (CAS 31570-04-4); replaces FCN 524
  • 2075: Glass-based pearlescent pigments
  • 2071: Amorphous hydrogenated carbon coating produced from acetylene as the carbon source in a radio-frequency plasma as described in the notification
  • 2070: An aqueous mixture of peroxyacetic acid (PAA) (CAS 79-21-0), hydrogen peroxide (HP) (CAS 7722-84-1), acetic acid (AA) (CAS 64-19-7), 1-hydroxyethylidene-1,1- diphosphonic acid (HEDP) (CAS 2809-21-4), and optionally sulfuric acid (CAS 7664-93-9)
  • 2069: Pentaerythritol (CAS 115-77-5)
  • 2068: Alcohols, C10-14-branched, C11-rich, reaction products with ethylene oxide, [(2-propenyloxy)methyl]oxirane and sulfamic acid (CAS 905843-50-7). The FCS is comprised primarily of poly(oxy-1,2-ethanediyl), α-sulfo-ω-[1-(hydroxymethyl)-2-(2-propen-1-yloxy)ethoxy]-, C11-rich, C10-14-branched alkyl ethers, ammonium salts (CAS 403983-53-9); replaces FCN 1945
  • 2067: Tricyclodecanedimethanol (CAS 26896-48-0 and 26160-83-8)
  • 2066: Copolymers of terephthalic acid (CAS 100-21-0), ethylene glycol (CAS 107-21-1), diethylene glycol (CAS 111-46-6), and 1,4-cyclohexanedimethanol (CAS 105-08-8), optionally branched with trimellitic anhydride (CAS 552-30-7)
  • 2065: alcohols, C10-14-branched, C11-rich, reaction products with polyethylene glycol and 2-[(2-propen-1-yloxy)methyl]oxirane (CAS 403983-11-9 and 1000866-04-5); replaces FCN 1944
  • 2064: Fatty acids, C18-unsaturated, dimers, hydrogenated, polymers with caprolactam and hexamethylenediamine (CAS 475994-94-6)
  • 2063: Styrene block polymer with 1,3-butadiene, hydrogenated (CAS 66070-58-4)
  • 2062: An aqueous mixture of peroxyacetic acid (PAA) (CAS 79-21-0), hydrogen peroxide (HP) (CAS 7722-84-1), acetic acid (AA) (CAS 64-19-7), sulfuric acid (SA) (CAS 7664-93-9), and 1-hydroxyethylidine-1,1-diphosphonic acid (HEDP) (CAS 2809-21-4)

Read More

KH (November 19, 2020). “FDA Adds Thirteen New Substances to its Inventory of Effective FCS Notifications

National Law Review (November 19, 2020). “FDA Adds Thirteen New Substances to its Inventory of Effective FCS Notifications.”

FDA (November 2020). “Inventory of Effective Food Contact Substance (FCS) Notifications.”

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India plans to test FCMs for BPA https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/india-plans-to-test-fcms-for-bpa https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/india-plans-to-test-fcms-for-bpa#respond Fri, 20 Nov 2020 13:09:32 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=327837 Government authority announces planned survey of food contact materials (FCMs) to test for presence of bisphenol A (BPA); results to be used to develop regulatory framework including maximum allowable content, leaching limits, tolerable daily intake

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In an article published on November 18, 2020, regulatory news provider Chemical Watch reported that India’s Ministry of Health and Welfare is planning to complete a survey of food contact materials (FCMs) available on the market to better understand the levels of bisphenol A (BPA; CAS 80-05-07) present in them. The goal is s to use this information to assess human health risks and develop a corresponding regulatory framework including (i) new standards related to maximum allowed levels in and leaching limits from FCMs, as well as defining (ii) a tolerable daily intake (TDI) limit similar to the one set by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).

The products will be tested in centralized government laboratories. India’s Central Food Technological Research Institute (CFTRI) is reported to have analyzed a range of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles last year and found heavy metals and BPA levels did not exceed the limit of detection (0.001 mg/kg).

Read More

Ajoy Das (November 18, 2020). “India to test consumer products and FCMs for BPA presence.” Chemical Watch

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LCA study investigates impacts of beverage packaging types https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/lca-study-investigates-impacts-of-beverage-packaging-types https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/lca-study-investigates-impacts-of-beverage-packaging-types#respond Fri, 20 Nov 2020 13:06:13 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=327835 Scientists from University of Southampton publish life cycle assessment (LCA) estimating primarily environmental impacts of five types of packaging across three beverage categories; find lowest impacts caused by recycled aluminum cans for pressurized drinks, Tetra Pak for fruit juices, cartons for milk

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On November 17, 2020, researchers from the University of Southampton in the UK announced the publication of a life cycle assessment (LCA) study in the peer-reviewed journal Detritus investigating the environmental impact of five different types of soft drink containers. The five types of packaging included glass bottles, aluminum cans, milk cartons, Tetra Paks, polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles, and high-density polyethylene (HDPE) bottles. These five packaging types were then assessed for use with three common beverage types: milk, fruit juice, and pressurized drinks. The assessment was completed using the open-source software OpenLCA combined with freely available inventory data from databases including the European reference Life Cycle Database of the Joint Research Center (ELCD), from previous LCA studies, and from scientific reports and peer-reviewed literature.

The LCA considered processes related to the extraction of virgin materials, manufacturing of the packaging article, and end of life treatment (including landfill, incineration, and recycling based on UK disposal rates). Using characterization factors from the CML database, the authors estimated primarily environmental impacts across a range of categories including climate change, depletion of abiotic resources, eutrophication, freshwater aquatic ecotoxicity, human toxicity, and ozone depletion. The containers each scored differently across the impact categories and for the different beverage types.

For use with pressurized drinks, recycled aluminum cans were found to have the lowest environmental impact across all categories except for marine aquatic ecotoxicity (where recycled glass bottles had the lowest impact). However, the authors found that glass bottles in this category, primarily due to high energy use during production, had the highest environmental impact in multiple categories including climate change, acidification, eutrophication, and depletion of abiotic resources. The containers with the least environmental impacts for the other beverage types were found to be Tetra Pak for fruit juices and milk cartons for milk.

“All beverage packaging that we assessed showed some form of environmental impacts and both the milk carton and Tetra Pak, despite being less impactful than the plastic bottles, still contain plastic elements,” co-author Alice Brock commented in a press release. “Based on the evidence, society needs to move away from single-use beverage packaging in order to reduce environmental harm and embrace the regular everyday use of reusable containers as standard practice.”

Reference

Alice Brock and Ian D. Williams (October 5, 2020). “Life Cycle Assessment of Beverage Packaging.” Detritus. doi: 10.31025/2611-4135/2020.14025

Read More

Ian Williams and Alice Brock (November 17, 2020). “Ranked: the environmental impact of five different soft drink containers.” The Conversation

University of Southampton (November 18, 2020). “Glass bottles amongst the most environmentally impactful says Southampton study.”

Olivia Rosane (November 18, 2020). “Study: Glass Bottles Harm the Environment More Than Plastic Bottles.” EcoWatch

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China criticized for screening packaged foods for coronavirus https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/global-trade-partners-criticize-chinas-coronavirus-screening-and-restriction-of-food-products https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/global-trade-partners-criticize-chinas-coronavirus-screening-and-restriction-of-food-products#respond Fri, 20 Nov 2020 12:43:06 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=327834 China finds coronavirus on food packaging from 20 countries, restricts the import of food products, does not share lab results; attracts criticism from trade partners that demand end to restriction, more information on used testing methods; WTO meeting to reconcile conflict not successful

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GlobalNews reported on November 18, 2020, about a conflict arising between China and several food-exporting countries. The Chinese health authorities claim to have found coronavirus on food packaging imported from 20 different countries and decided to deny the affected products from being imported. However, several countries are criticizing China for withholding evidence, calling it “unjustified trade restrictions” and not complacent with global norms of trade.

The parties sought bilateral reconciliation in a meeting at The World Trade Organization (WTO) in Geneva on November 5-6, 2020.

China argues it has isolated viable coronavirus from imported frozen cod (as reported on October 19, 2020, in The Guardian) and justified its strict measures at the WTO meeting with the argument of them being based on scientific evidence and “designed to protect people’s lives to a maximum extent.” Furthermore, Chinese authorities see a risk of the virus reentering the country through imported food products as mentioned in an article in the government associated tabloid Global Times.

Nevertheless, already in April 2020, The World Health Organization (WHO) published a document in which they dismiss the transmission route to humans from food or packaging (FPF reported).

Several countries, including Canada, the US, Brazil, and New Zealand, question China’s screening and restriction measures, which they argue threaten to harm trade and reputation of imported food products. They emphasize that evidence for positive test results are missing or not shared by the Chinese health authorities. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) specifically stated that “China’s most recent COVID-19 restrictions on imported food products are not based on science and threaten to disrupt trade.”

Gudrun Gallhoff, the minister counselor for Health and Food safety at the EU delegation to China, demands more information on China’s testing methods for the SARS-CoV-2 virus. He argues that any testing results should be made available to exporters to ensure the fair participation of all trade partners.

More information related to the COVID-19 pandemic and packaging is available on the Food Packaging Forum’s resources page.

Read More

Global Times (November 19, 2020). “Gripes over food tests disregard safety of public.

Dominque Patton and Emma Farge (November 18, 2020). “China testing imported food packaging for coronavirus, angering several countries.” Global News

Lily Kuo (October 19, 2020). “Live coronavirus found on frozen food packaging in China.The Guardian

Flora Southey (November 20, 2020). “China detects COVID-19 on German pork knuckles, suspends imports from 20 countries.FoodNavigator

Reference

WHO (April 7, 2020). “COVID-19 and food safety: guidance for food businesses.(pdf)

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China modifies standard on inks used in FCMs https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/china-modifies-standard-on-inks-used-in-fcms https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/china-modifies-standard-on-inks-used-in-fcms#respond Thu, 19 Nov 2020 14:29:35 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=327826 China modifies draft standard for inks used on composite food contact materials and articles; specifies safety requirements, basic requirements, limits on impurities and migration; provides requirements for labelling of inks

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In an article published on November 16, 2020, law firm Keller and Heckman LLP (KH) reported that China notified the World Trade Organization (WTO) about its intention to modify its existing National Standard on inks used in Food Contact Materials (FCMs) and Articles. The changes in the draft are reported to include, for example, new safety requirements concerning impurity and migration limits. The draft standard is open for comments until January 4, 2021.

Read More

KH (November 16, 2020).China Notified the WTO Concerning Printing Ink Standard for FCMs.”

WTO (November 3, 2020). “Notification/Addendum.

Reference

China National Standards (2020).National Food Safety Standard of the P.R.C.: Food Contacting Composite Materials and Related Products.” (pdf) (in Chinese)

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Tanzania proposes limits for polyethylene FCM additives https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/tanzania-proposes-limits-for-polyethylene-fcm-additives https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/tanzania-proposes-limits-for-polyethylene-fcm-additives#respond Thu, 19 Nov 2020 07:43:12 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=327775 Hundreds of additive compounds used in food contact materials (FCMs) included with corresponding restriction limits and together with detailed testing methods; restrictions planned to be implemented in summer 2021

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On November 18, 2020, news provider Chemical Watch reported on the publication of a draft standard for polyethylene (PE) food contact materials (FCMs) from the Tanzanian Bureau of Standards (TBS). The standard lists the maximum allowed levels in percentages by mass for hundreds of chemical additives that can be used in the manufacture of PE. These include, among others, the presence of carbon black (CAS 1333-86-4), polyvinyl cyclohexane (CAS 25498-06-0), silicon dioxide (CAS 7631-86-9), titanium dioxide (CAS 13463-67-7) as well as ten metals and emulsifying agents. Compliance with the standard is planned to be ensured through a written assurance by the suppliers. Apart from this, the standard also includes detailed testing methods. The World Trade Organization (WTO) was notified on November 9, 2020, by the Tanzanian authorities, and the restrictions are expected to be implemented by summer 2021.

Read More

Chemical Watch (November 17, 2020). “Tanzania publishes draft polyethylene FCM standard.

Reference

TBS (November 9, 2020). “Draft Tanzanian Standard: Specification for Plastic Materials for Food Contact Applications Part 2: Polyethylene (PE).” (pdf)

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New form of PLA seen as beneficial for application in hot food packaging https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/newly-form-of-pla-seen-as-beneficial-for-application-in-hot-food-packaging https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/newly-form-of-pla-seen-as-beneficial-for-application-in-hot-food-packaging#respond Wed, 18 Nov 2020 13:43:47 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=327752 Researchers develop a more thermally resistant form of polylactic acid (PLA) plastic; provides clear, tough, and heat resistant material with the potential to expand PLA market application and reduce price

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On November 16, 2020, news provider Sustainable Plastics released an interview with a professor from Kumho National Institute of Technology in South Korea, Shi-Qing Wang, about his latest research regarding a new, more thermally resistant form of polylactic acid (PLA) plastic.

Even though PLA represents the most widely used biodegradable biobased polymer, its low resistance to heat (around 140 °F or 60°C) puts a limit to current fields of application, especially hot food packaging and disposable containers. PLA that has been in contact with e.g. boiling water becomes opaque and brittle or even collapses. However, a prototype made from specially treated PLA developed in Wang’s lab reportedly results in a clear, tough, and heat resistant cup. In addition to its higher heat resistance, the new form of PLA is also potentially more easily biodegradable, according to Wang.

The new material is being seen as offering great potential to drive growth and application expansion in the PLA market, which could also lead to a price drop for PLA products.

Read more

Karen Laird (November 16, 2020). “Polymer researcher develops tough, flexible PLA that withstands boiling water.” Sustainable Plastics

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Guide for retailers on implementing safer chemicals and materials https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/guide-for-retailers-on-implementing-safer-chemicals-and-materials https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/guide-for-retailers-on-implementing-safer-chemicals-and-materials#respond Wed, 18 Nov 2020 08:37:24 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=327726 Clean Production Action publishes guide to help retailers create chemicals strategies, ensure use of safer chemicals and materials; outlines key steps to establish inventories with brands and suppliers, measure chemical footprint, publicly disclose policies and progress

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On November 13, 2020, non-governmental organization Clean Production Action announced the publication of new guide for retailers describing why and how they should take action on chemicals of concern in their products. The organization writes that “retailers need to move beyond regulatory compliance if they are to meet customer expectations for safer chemicals in products, respond to investor inquiries, and achieve favorable profiles in rankings by advocacy groups.” With the thousands of chemicals present on the market and in products, however, the organization recognizes that it can be an overwhelming task just to know how to begin.

To support retailers, Cleaner Production Action’s guide outlines best practices as developed under the organization’s Chemical Footprint Project (FPF reported). It further breaks down key steps that can be taken into five separate modules addressing: (i) developing a chemicals strategy, (ii) using restricted substances lists and priority products to remove chemicals of concern, (iii) building a chemical inventory with brands and suppliers, (iv) measuring a retailer’s own chemical footprint, and (v) publicly disclosing set policies and progress being made towards set goals. Overall, the new publication is described as being “a how-to guide for retailers that want both to address consumer concerns with hazardous chemicals in products and meet consumer preferences for products made with the safest and healthiest chemicals and materials.”

Read More

Clean Production Action (November 13, 2020). “The Retailer’s Guide to Safer Chemicals and Materials.”

Reference

Beverley Thorpe, Cheri Peele, and Mark S. Rossi (November 2020). “Retailer’s Guide to Safer Chemicals & Materials.” Clean Production Action (pdf)

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EU surveys consumers on nanotechnology https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/eu-surveys-consumers-on-nanotechnology https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/eu-surveys-consumers-on-nanotechnology#respond Wed, 18 Nov 2020 08:36:24 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=327725 European Observatory for Nanomaterials (EUON) publishes survey that reveals 87% of consumers from five EU countries wish for better labelling of everyday products containing nanotechnology

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The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) published a press release on November 16, 2020, highlighting a newly published survey report from the European Observatory for Nanomaterials (EUON). The survey assessed for five selected EU countries (Austria, Bulgaria, Finland, France, and Poland) how citizens “perceive nanomaterials and their potential risks to health and environment.”

The main findings include a generally low of awareness of nanomaterials, albeit the level of awareness has increased compared to earlier studies. Furthermore, one major result of the study was that 87% of people responded they would like to have a way to know whether a product contains nanomaterials.

Based on the survey, the EUON announced three recommendations: Firstly, increasing Europeans’ awareness of the benefits and risks of nanomaterials, which could be achieved by e.g. developing a label. Secondly, it suggested to expand the survey to all 27 EU countries, and finally, in case of a labelling, the most appropriate type of labelling for products needs to be identified.

EUON finds that implementing these recommendations will help improve available information and communication on nanomaterials. This, in turn, will facilitate consumers’ understanding of how and where nanotechnology is used in everyday products as well as their risks and benefits.

The EUON was launched June 2017 (FPF reported) as an information platform with the key purpose to offer a free resource for EU citizens and all stakeholders to find easily accessible and relevant safety information on nanomaterials available on the EU market.

Reference

ECHA (November 2020). “Understanding public perception of nanomaterials and their safety in the EU.” (pdf)

Read more

ECHA (November 16, 2020). “What do EU citizens think about nanomaterials?

Chemical Watch (November 17, 2020). “Echa survey highlights need for clear labelling of nanomaterials.”

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Update: Circular Plastic Alliance delivers first actions https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/update-circular-plastic-alliance-delivers-first-actions https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/update-circular-plastic-alliance-delivers-first-actions#respond Mon, 16 Nov 2020 16:56:17 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=327719 European Commission (EC) announces first delivered actions of its Circular Plastics Alliance; identifies 19 priority plastic products, current overview of European waste sorting and collection

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The European Commission (EC) published a press release on November 13, 2020, announcing the first delivered actions of its Circular Plastics Alliance. The EC summarizes three of its most important deliverables. These include, firstly, a work plan for design-for-recycling of plastic products that currently lists 19 plastic products that should be made more recyclable. Secondly, it proposes a state-of-play on waste collection and sorting in Europe that gives an overview of the current situation in Europe. Finally, it composes a research and development (R&D) agenda for recycled plastics, highlighting strategic and specific R&D needs.

The Circular Plastics Alliance includes over 175 organizations from industry, the public and academia. It has been formed under the EC’s objective to improve the economics and quality of recycled plastics (FPF reported) and to achieve the final goal of transforming 10 million metric tons of recycled plastics into new products by 2025.

Additional updates are planned to follow by early 2021, including, among others, (1) a monitoring system to track plastics in Europe, (2) a report for untapped potential in sorting and waste collection, and (3) a mapping of related investment needs.

References

EC (November 13, 2020). “Commitments and deliverables of the Circular Plastics Alliance.”

EC (March 4, 2020). “Circular Plastics Alliance – Design-for-Recycling Workplan.”

EC (October 15, 2020). “Summary of the commitments and deliverables of the Alliance.”

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ECHA calls for comments on chlorinated paraffins https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/echa-calls-for-comments-on-chlorinated-paraffins https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/echa-calls-for-comments-on-chlorinated-paraffins#respond Mon, 16 Nov 2020 16:44:12 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=327718 European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) seeks information on manufacture, use, exposure, environmental release of chlorinated alkanes to inform restriction proposal; comments accepted until December 15, 2020

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On November 11, 2020, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) announced a call for comments and evidence on the substance “alkanes, C14-17, chloro” (CAS 85535-85-9) in preparation for a restriction proposal under the REACH regulation. News provider Chemical Watch reports that the substances are medium-chain chlorinated paraffins largely used in the manufacture of polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polymers, rubber, sealants, and adhesives. If the substance is identified as a substance of very high concern (SVHC), risk management via a restriction on its uses may be imposed. The call is requesting stakeholders to submit information “on the manufacture, import, use, exposure and environmental release of Alkanes, C14-17, chloro in the EU/EEA, as well as on the possibility for substitution (potential alternative substances or techniques) and on the socio-economic impacts of substitution.” Comments are being accepted until December 15, 2020.

Read More

ECHA (November 12, 2020). “Current calls for comments and evidence: Alkanes, C14-17, chloro.”

Chemical Watch (November 12, 2020). “Echa calls for evidence on possible SVHC identification of alkanes.”

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Stakeholders anticipate Biden’s changes to US chemicals regulations https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/stakeholders-anticipate-bidens-changes-to-us-chemicals-regulations https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/stakeholders-anticipate-bidens-changes-to-us-chemicals-regulations#respond Thu, 12 Nov 2020 13:02:51 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=327710 President-elect’s environmental justice plan specifically targets ‘frontline’ communities affected most by chemical pollution, set to recognize per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) as hazardous under US law; critics concerned over appointment of transition team member with history of defending PFAS manufacturers

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In an article published on November 10, 2020, Bloomberg Law discusses how Joe Biden’s upcoming presidency in the United States could affect the nation’s regulations on chemicals. Citing comments he made during recent campaign debates, the article points to Biden’s interest in ‘frontline’ communities with highest exposures from nearby chemical manufacturing and processing facilities. Significant shifts are also expected within the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), including an increased focus on regulating and banning certain chemicals.

As the Environmental Working Group (EWG) reports, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) may gain special attention from the new administration. Biden’s published environmental justice plan specifically sets out to recognize PFAS as hazardous substances, implement enforceable limits on PFAS in drinking water, and prioritize substitution of the chemicals across current applications. Notably, designating the substances as hazardous under the US superfund program would put in place funding to clean up contaminated sites across the country, and it would also require polluters responsible to contribute their share in financing the efforts.

In contrast, an article recently published by investigative journal The Intercept cautioned the public to take a closer look at the experts Biden is appointing to his transition team. The author, Sharon Lerner, is specifically concerned about the appointment of Michael McCabe to the EPA review team. McCabe served as a deputy director of the US EPA in the 1990s. He also led PFAS manufacturer DuPont’s defense team during litigation against the widespread pollution it caused while manufacturing the toxic chemical perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA; CAS 335-67-1) (FPF reported), thus “successfully help[ing] the giant corporation dodge the [US EPA’s] efforts to set binding limits on the chemical.” The Intercept is also skeptical of Biden’s own ability to defend public health from large PFAS manufacturers, which are still headquartered in his home state of Delaware.

Read More

Pat Rizzuto (November 10, 2020). “Biden to Emphasize Chemicals Concerns of ‘Frontline’ Communities.” Bloomberg Law

Environmental Working Group (November 11, 2020). “How Will the Biden Administration Tackle ‘Forever Chemicals’?

Sharon Lerner (November 11, 2020). “Biden EPA Transition Team Member Helped DuPont Dodge Responsibility for PFOA.” The Intercept

Megha Satyanarayana, Melody M. Bomgardner, Britt E. Erickson, Rick Mullin, Alexander H. Tullo, Andrea L Widener (November 6, 2020). “Chemistry awaits US presidential pick.” Chemical & Engineering News

Terry Hyland (November 11, 2020). “Biden administration expected to increase scrutiny of TSCA risk evaluations, new chemicals.” Chemical Watch

Richard Denison (November 17, 2020). “Righting the ship: A new chance for stronger protections against toxic chemicals.” Environmental Defense Fund

Center for Food Safety (November 18, 2020). “Center for Food Safety’s Biden Administration Priority Recommendations Urgently Needed to Protect Our Food and Environment.”

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Review on mechanical recycling of plastic packaging https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/review-on-mechanical-recycling-of-plastic-packaging https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/review-on-mechanical-recycling-of-plastic-packaging#respond Wed, 11 Nov 2020 15:00:44 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=327677 Article in peer-reviewed journal provides thorough overview of mechanical recycling processes by polymer, discusses chemical additives used; concludes mechanical recycling will remain most effective method to recycle plastics

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On September 30, 2020, researchers from the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom published a review article in the peer-reviewed journal Macromolecular Rapid Communications. The study “covers the current methods and challenges for the mechanical recycling of the five main packaging plastics: poly(ethylene terephthalate), polyethylene, polypropylene, polystyrene, and poly(vinyl chloride) through the lens of a circular economy.” It provides an overview of the fractions of packaging processed through recycling, energy recovery, and landfilling, as well as collection rates by polymer type. It further introduces some of the key mechanics and chemistry involved in mechanical recycling for each of the polymer types, and it provides an insight into the range of chemical additives used in recycling processes, such as stabilizers, chain extenders, compatibilizers, fillers, and plasticizers.

Concerning chemical recycling, the study suggests that “although both chemical and biological recycling are regarded as ‘green’ recycling methods, full and objective life‐cycle assessments are needed to evaluate their sustainability.” It further comments that its “analysis suggests that mechanical recycling will remain the most effective method to recycle plastics – in terms of time, economic cost, carbon footprint and environmental impact.”

Looking ahead, the review identifies a set of current limitations facing mechanical recycling including “material property deterioration, costs and sorting issues.” It also recognizes issues faced through the chemical additives used in the recycling processes where there is a lack of standards for different polymer grades and insufficient understanding of the role these additives play in affecting the recyclate quality. The authors write that “if we are to justify the continued use of plastics – which we should – we must have better control over their material life cycle and pursue solutions that can maintain their value over repeated uses and reprocessing.”

Reference

Schyns, Z. et al. (September 30, 2020). “Mechanical Recycling of Packaging Plastics: A Review.” Macromolecular Rapid Communications

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EU beverage carton recycling rate increases https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/eu-beverage-carton-recycling-rate-increases https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/eu-beverage-carton-recycling-rate-increases#respond Wed, 11 Nov 2020 14:57:03 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=327676 2019 recycling rate reaches 51%, sees increase of 3% from 2018 levels

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In a press release published on November 5, 2011, industry association Alliance for Beverage Cartons and the Environment (ACE) announced that the recycling rate for beverage cartons in the 28 countries of the EU increased to 51% in 2019. The is a 3% increase over the 2018 figure (FPF reported). “We are pleased that the steady annual increase of the recycling rate for beverage cartons in 2019 surpassed 50%,” commented ACE’s director, Annick Carpentier. “This is proof of our industry’s efforts and enhances the message that beverage cartons are recyclable and are being recycled at scale in Europe.” ACE’s members include beverage carton producers such as Tetra Pak, SIG Combibloc, and Elopak.

Read More

ACE (November 5, 2020). “ACE announces increased recycling rate for beverage cartons.”

Jim Cornall (November 10, 2020). “EU beverage carton recycling rate hits 51%.” Dairy Reporter

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JRC proposes improved testing strategies https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/jrc-proposes-improved-testing-strategies https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/jrc-proposes-improved-testing-strategies#respond Tue, 10 Nov 2020 13:27:08 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=327631 EU’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) publishes study identifying chemical testing strategies that require fewer tests, reduce need for animal testing; based on data on biocide and plant protection products, could be expanded for use across other product types

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On October 21, 2020, scientists from the European Commission’s (EC) Joint Research Centre (JRC) published an article in the peer-reviewed journal Toxicology Letters outlining strategies aimed to reduce the chemical testing needed under the EU’s Classification, Labeling, and Packaging (CLP) Regulation for hazard-based risk management. The authors point out that redundancy in testing and data collection exists, with toxicity testing being performed but not necessarily linked to an impact on the safe use of the chemical. To optimize this, the authors developed a set of testing strategies using a dataset based on active substances in biocides and plant protection products. The study reports identifying two testing strategies that provide the same level of protection as current approaches but require between 6-8.8% fewer tests, as well as a third strategy that offers equal protection while reducing animal testing.

The authors write that “the intentionally simplistic approach to optimized testing strategies presented here could be used beyond the assessment of biocides and plant protection products to gain efficiencies in the safety assessment of other chemical groups, saving animals and making regulatory testing more time- and cost-efficient.”

Reference

Da Silva, E. et al. (October 21, 2020). “Optimising testing strategies for classification of human health and environmental hazards – A proof-of-concept study.” Toxicology Letters

Read More

Emma Davies (November 5, 2020). “JRC team develops optimised testing strategies in bid to reduce tests.” Chemical Watch

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Coca-Cola presents paper bottle prototype https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/coca-cola-presents-paper-bottle-prototype https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/coca-cola-presents-paper-bottle-prototype#respond Tue, 10 Nov 2020 13:12:26 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=327630 Beverage manufacturer announces development of first-generation prototype; new bottle still contains plastic liner and closure, aims to remove in upcoming development cycles

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Coca-Cola has announced the creation of its first prototype paper beverage bottle. Industry news provider Beverage Daily reported in an article on October 29, 2020, that the new bottle’s shell is entirely paper, but it still relies on a recyclable plastic liner and cap to contain the liquid. However, the beverage manufacturer says that this is just the first prototype towards achieving a plastic-free paper bottle in the future. Coca-Cola is developing the bottle within a wider consortium of beverage and consumer product companies including the Carlsberg Group, The Absolut Company, and L’Oréal (FPF reported).

A spokesperson commented that “the bottle has a plastic liner and a plastic closure, and we are currently testing its physical qualities and properties. This bottle being a prototype, we do not expect to introduce it widely, although we will test it in limited trials as a stepping stone to learn more.” Looking ahead, the representative said that their “clear next step is to find a solution to replace the plastic liner, and this is really where the pioneer community shows its strength.” A short video was released showing the bottle’s form.

Within a separate consortium, Diageo, PepsiCo, Unilever are also working towards creating a plastic-free paper bottle. The group reported in July 2020 that it now has a prototype achieving this, and this new bottle will be released publicly in Jonnie Walker brand whisky in early 2021 (FPF reported).

Read More

Rachel Arthur (October 29, 2020). “Coca-Cola reveals paper bottle prototype: ‘This opens up a whole new world of packaging possibilities’.” Beverage Daily

Rachel Arthur (October 11, 2020). “Carlsberg showcases paper bottle prototype.” Beverage Daily

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Petition calls for McDonald’s to phase out PFAS https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/petition-calls-for-mcdonalds-to-phase-out-pfas https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/petition-calls-for-mcdonalds-to-phase-out-pfas#respond Fri, 06 Nov 2020 14:45:51 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=327582 Drinking water contaminated by per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in the US motivates call for fast-food chain to cease use of the chemicals in its food packaging, reduce market demand

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On November 5, 2020, non-governmental organization Safer Chemicals Healthy Families announced the launch of a public petition calling for restaurant chain McDonald’s to discontinue using all per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in its food packaging. The initiative is motivated by a community in the US state of Alabama that had its drinking water highly contaminated from a nearby chemical plant owned by manufacturer Daikin that produces PFAS. Following a study in August 2020 that detected PFAS in the food packaging of major restaurant chains, including McDonald’s (FPF reported), the petition is calling for the restaurant to discontinue its use of PFAS. The petition argues that “as the largest fast-food chain in the world, McDonald’s is driving demand for these chemicals. And they have the power to make a change.”

Read More

Brenda Hampton and Mind the Store (November 5, 2020). “McDonald’s: Stop using packaging that contaminates drinking water!Change.org

Bret Kemler (November 5, 2020). “A resident of this Alabama county is calling out McDonald’s for PFAS.” Safer Chemicals Healthy Families

Mike Schade (November 16, 2020). “Thousands of people demand action on McDonald’s toxic trash.” Safer Chemicals Healthy Families

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New Plastics Economy progress report 2020 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/new-plastics-economy-progress-report-2020 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/new-plastics-economy-progress-report-2020#respond Fri, 06 Nov 2020 14:42:37 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=327581 Ellen MacArthur Foundation summarizes progress made by business and government signatories since 2019; identifies focus towards increase of recycled content, phasing out problematic items; sees little development in increasing plastic packaging recyclability, reducing single-use packaging

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On November 5, 2020, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation announced the publication of the latest progress report on the global commitments made by businesses and governments to better manage their use of plastics. The report provides a summary of progress made across the 118 business and 17 government signatories to the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment, which was launched in October 2018 with a vision “to stop plastic waste and pollution at source by applying circular economy principles” (FPF reported). Since the last progress report released in October 2019 (FPF reported), the initiative has seen “significant progress in two key areas: the incorporation of recycled content in plastic packaging, and the phase out of the most commonly identified problematic items, such as PS and PVC packaging, undetectable carbon black pigments, and single-use plastic bags and straws.” However, it notes that only minor steps have been made toward “increasing recyclability of plastic packaging and reducing the need for single-use packaging altogether.” It finds that “progress on shifting towards reusable packaging is limited, and elimination efforts remain focused on a relatively small set of materials and formats.”

The foundation notes that “there are also significant differences in the rate of progress between signatories” with some making large advances and others having made little to no progress towards the 2025 targets. To get the initiative on track, the report is calling for businesses to take “bold action on packaging types that are not recyclable today” and deciding now to either execute roadmaps to make their recycling work or to innovate away from them. To support industry, governments are being called on to establish mechanisms for dedicated funding in cooperation with the industry’s financial contributions on collection and sorting, as well as to set a global direction for international action towards a circular economy for plastics.

Reference

Ellen MacArthur Foundation (November 5, 2020). “Global Commitment 2020 Progress Report.”

Read More

Ellen MacArthur Foundation (November 5, 2020). “Global Commitment 2020 Progress Report published.”

EUWID (November 13, 2020). “Ellen MacArthur lobt Fortschritte beim Rezyklatanteil in Kunststoffverpackungen.” (in German)

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US identified as leading source of plastic pollution https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/us-identified-as-leading-source-of-plastic-pollution https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/us-identified-as-leading-source-of-plastic-pollution#respond Thu, 05 Nov 2020 13:57:47 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=327564 Peer-reviewed study estimates total amounts of mis-managed plastic waste, includes domestic illegal dumping and waste exports to foreign recyclers; finds US produces greatest amount of plastic waste per capita, potentially third largest source worldwide of ocean plastics; recommends reduction of plastic production, product re-designs

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On October 30, 2020, a team of researchers published a study in the peer-reviewed journal Science Advances finding that the United States is the top generator of plastic waste in the world and potentially the third greatest source of ocean plastic pollution. Previous reports, including by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), identified that the United States’ plastic waste has been appropriately accounted for via landfilling and recycling processes. However, the new study makes use of updated waste generation and characterization data reported by the World Bank and US sources. It further takes into account illegal dumping within the US as well as the United States’ reliance on exporting the majority of its own plastic waste to countries that do not have adequate recycling infrastructure. Considering all of this, this study challenges the previous narrative and identifies the US as a leading country responsible for increasing global ocean plastic pollution.

The authors report that according to “both the World Bank estimate (34.0 Mt) and our refined U.S. estimate (42.0 Mt), in 2016, the U.S. population produced the largest mass of plastic waste of any country in the world and also had the largest annual per capita plastic waste generation of the top plastic waste–generating countries (>100 kg).” They further identify that “together with litter, the estimated amount of mismanaged plastic waste in the United States in 2016 was between 0.98 and 1.26 Mt, or 2.33 and 2.99% of plastic waste generated.” Of the approximately 50% of plastic waste collected in 2016 in the US for recycling, “more than 88% was exported to countries with greater than 20% inadequately managed waste.” Using these numbers, the authors conclude that based on their “upper-bound estimate, in 2016, the United States was the third largest contributor of mismanaged plastic waste to the coastal environment globally,” which represents “an 82 to 400% increase from the 2010 estimate.”

“For years, so much of the plastic we have put into the blue bin has been exported for recycling to countries that struggle to manage their own waste, let alone the vast amounts delivered from the United States,” lead author the study Kara Lavender Law told EcoWatch. “And when you consider how much of our plastic waste isn’t actually recyclable because it is low-value, contaminated or difficult to process, it’s not surprising that a lot of it ends up polluting the environment.”

The authors conclude that “the most straightforward way to reduce environmental inputs of plastic waste is to produce less, especially waste that is not practicably or economically recyclable, readily escapes to the environment, or is unnecessary.” They advocate that “waste reduction must begin with material, product, and packaging design that addresses end-of-life management, including an explicit cost for recovery and treatment.”

Reference

Law, K. et al. (October 30, 2020). “The United States’ contribution of plastic waste to land and ocean.” Science Advances

Read More

Olivia Rosane (November 3, 2020). “U.S. Leads the World in Plastic Waste, New Study Finds.” EcoWatch

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Portuguese study surveys consumption of packaged foods https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/portuguese-study-surveys-consumption-of-packaged-foods https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/portuguese-study-surveys-consumption-of-packaged-foods#respond Thu, 05 Nov 2020 13:57:20 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=327565 Finds on average 1.5 kg packaged food consumed per person per day, plastic packaging makes up largest fraction by material type (69%); provides detailed tables of packaging material type across food groups and sociodemographic characteristics

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On October 30, 2020, researchers from the University of Porto in Portugal published a study in the peer-reviewed British Food Journal investigating the consumption of packaged food by the Portuguese population. The information was gathered and evaluated from responses to the larger National Food, Nutrition, and Physical Activity Survey, which took place in the years 2015 to 2016 and surveyed 5,811 participants aged 3 months to 84 years old. The study reports that on average 1,530 g of packaged food were consumed per person per day, with plastic being the largest material type (69%) and the largest fraction of plastic packaging used for non-alcoholic beverages (38%). The other most common material types identified for food packaging include multilayer materials (14%), glass (9%), paperboard/paper (3.6%), and metal (3.3%).

The study provides detailed tables outlining the fraction of packaging material types used across a set of food groups, as well as across sociodemographic characteristics such as sex, age, and educational level. This new study offers an updated range of similar metrics to an earlier 2009 study on packaging consumption completed by the Portuguese Catholic University.

References

Costa, S. et al. (October 30, 2020). “Consumption of packaged foods by the Portuguese population: type of materials and its associated factors.” British Food Journal

Poças, M.F.F. et al. (August 18, 2009). “Characterization of patterns of food packaging usage in Portuguese homes.” Food Additives & Contaminants

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European Council supports harmonized FCM rules https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/european-council-supports-harmonized-fcm-rules https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/european-council-supports-harmonized-fcm-rules#respond Wed, 04 Nov 2020 15:41:21 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=327560 EU body publishes conclusions on Farm to Fork Strategy; calls for developing harmonized rules for additional food contact material (FCM) types and an EU-wide requirement for declarations of compliance for all materials

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In a press release published on October 19, 2020, the European Council announced that it has adopted a set of conclusions regarding the EU’s Farm to Fork Strategy. Specifically, regarding food contact materials (FCMs), the council writes that it “welcomes the Commission’s plans to revise the food contact materials legislation to improve food safety and public health.” It further “encourages the Commission to develop harmonised rules for specific types of material used for food contact in the light of the increasing demands for circularity, while ensuring food safety.” Notably, the body also “calls for a declaration of compliance for all food contact materials” as a new common EU requirement “in order to document materials’ safety, give relevant information to the next user in the supply chain and improve the recyclability of food contact materials.”

In May 2020, the European Commission published the Farm to Fork Strategy, which outlined a timeline for revisions to current FCM regulations (FPF reported). A proposal of the revised regulations is set to be released in the fourth quarter of 2022; however, many stakeholders are concerned that is too far into the future given the open calls for revisions over the past six years.

Read More

European Council (October 19, 2020). “Council prioritises actions for sustainable food systems: conclusions on the farm to fork strategy.”

Reference

European Council (October 19, 2020). “Council Conclusions on the Farm to Fork Strategy.” (pdf)

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EFSA working group updates in August through October 2020 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/efsa-working-group-updates-in-august-through-october-2020 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/efsa-working-group-updates-in-august-through-october-2020#respond Wed, 04 Nov 2020 15:37:43 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=327559 Minutes from recent meetings of the EFSA CEP panel and working groups on BPA, FCMs, and phthalates published; groups continue discussions and revisions of draft opinions

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The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) Panel on food Contact materials, Enzymes and Processing aids (CEP Panel) published the minutes of the 35th and 36th meetings of its Working Group on bisphenol A re-evaluation (WG-BPA) held in July and September 2020. During the meetings, the experts discussed the current drafts of the texts on cardiotoxicity and neurotoxicity for its draft opinion, the criteria for a non-monotonic dose-response, issues related to dose-conversion, and the procedure for selecting the studies and endpoints from the weight of evidence for the benchmark dose.

The EFSA CEP Panel also published the minutes of the 19th meeting of its Working Group on Food Contact Materials (WG-FCM), which was held in September 2020. During the meeting, there were no FCM applications open for discussion due to a delay in data submission from the applicants. Instead, the group used the time to discuss other scientific topics including EFSA’s draft guidance on nanomaterials and the public feedback on it that was received as well as a recent (and not yet public) mandate received from the European Commission to re-evaluate phthalates. The meeting minutes also note feedback on a specific migration limit (SML) the group has given EFSA regarding use of a dimer (FCM substance number 1080; CAS 156157‐97‐0) via an adopted opinion, as well as ongoing review of the SML for cobalt salts authorized for use in FCMs.

The EFSA CEP Panel further published the minutes of the 12th through 14th meetings of the working group on phthalates. In the meetings, the group continued to discuss revisions to its draft risk assessment of five phthalates (FPF reported) following feedback received during a public consultation. It assigned final tasks to the group members in preparation for possible adoption of the risk assessment by the CEP Panel.

Read more

EFSA CEP Panel (July 2, 2020). “Minutes of the 31st – 34th meetings of the working group on BPA re-evaluation.” (pdf)

EFSA CEP Panel (July 27, 2020). “Minutes of the 15th – 18th meetings of the working group on food contact materials 2018-2021.” (pdf)

EFSA CEP Panel (July 23, 2020). “Minutes of the 12th – 14th meeting of the working group on recycling plastics 2018-2021.” (pdf)

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Overview presentation of EU FCM policy revisions https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/overview-presentation-of-eu-fcm-policy-revisions https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/overview-presentation-of-eu-fcm-policy-revisions#respond Wed, 04 Nov 2020 15:32:38 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=327558 Regulatory consultancy Smithers publishes recorded excerpt of presentation on recent and planned revisions to EU food contact material regulations

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Food contact regulatory consultancy Smithers has published a summary of recent and upcoming updates to food contact regulations in the EU. The article features a recorded excerpt from a recent presentation given by Alistair Irvine at the Food Contact Asia 2020 conference. The presentation provides an overview of planned amendments affecting the recycling of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and other plastics for food contact materials (FCMs) by the European Commission (FPF reported). It also summarizes the ongoing food contact regulation revisions, including main outcomes of the contracted Ecorys study (FPF reported).

Read More

Alistair Irvine (October 2020). “European food contact regulatory updates.”

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Intentional and non-intentional microplastics targeted by EU ban https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/intentional-and-non-intentional-microplastics-targeted-by-eu-ban https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/intentional-and-non-intentional-microplastics-targeted-by-eu-ban#respond Tue, 03 Nov 2020 18:36:56 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=327553 European Commission signals that it is preparing a wider set of actions to initiate impact assessment on non-intentional microplastics emissions; would include sources such as car tires, textiles, plastic pellets; stakeholders call for more research to address current data gaps in microplastic toxicity

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A representative from the European Commission’s (EC) Directorate General for the Environment (DG ENV) has commented that the EU government has a larger plan to address microplastics stemming from both intentional and non-intentional sources. Chemical Watch reported on the update shared with attendees during a microplastics conference on October 23, 2020. The EC asked the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) to submit a restriction proposal for intentionally added microplastics (FPF reported), however the spokesperson from DG ENV said during the event that “we are not just targeting intentionally added microplastics. We have a global plan to address all of them, and the restriction on the intentionally added ones is just a piece of the puzzle.” This includes initiating an impact assessment of microplastic emissions from non-intentional sources such as car tires, textiles, and manufacturing pellets “very soon.”

It has also been recognized that significant data gaps remain in understanding the toxicity of microplastics. In a recent conference focused on microplastics held by Die Akademie Fresenius, it was reported that experts from regulatory and academic institutions have called for more research into the mechanisms behind observed physiological effects caused by microplastics exposure as well as research on the toxicity of microplastics with more environmentally relevant shapes. Chemical additives that could be non-covalently bonded to microplastics and later leach out were also seen as a concern in need of further investigation.

Read More

Andrew Turley (October 29, 2020). “EU microplastics plan will address intentional and non-intentional sources.” Chemical Watch

Emma Davies (November 5, 2020). “European experts point to data gaps on microplastic toxicity.” Chemical Watch

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Bacardi launching biodegradable plastic bottle https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/bacardi-launching-biodegradable-plastic-bottle https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/bacardi-launching-biodegradable-plastic-bottle#respond Tue, 03 Nov 2020 18:33:46 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=327552 Spirits manufacturer set to replace material used across its brands globally, first new bottles to reach markets in 2023; polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) based plastic reported to biodegrade across environmental compartments within 18 months

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In an article published on October 21, 2020, news provider Beverage Daily reported on the development of a new biodegradable bottle for use by spirits manufacturer Bacardi. The bottles will be made from medium chain length polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA) known as Nodax PHA, which have been developed by Danimer Scientific. The material is reported to be able to biodegrade within 18 months in a range of environmental compartments including home compost, soil, freshwater and seawater. The material will also be used to replace currently existing non-biodegradable plastics used as plastic liners in metal closures across the company’s product range.

While the drinks manufacturer primarily relies on glass bottles with less than 1% of its waste stemming from plastic, it has still decided to prioritize the switch for its plastic containers. A spokesperson from the company commented that “it is more expensive to produce these biopolymers bottles, though as economies of scale are reached and use of the technology increases, costs will be reduced. Any additional cost will be absorbed by Bacardi as we believe strongly in doing the right thing for the planet.” The new bottles will be first launched across its US market by 2023, and it will then implement the material change globally across the company’s 200 brands.

Read More

Rachel Arthur (October 21, 2020). “Bacardi unveils biodegradable spirits bottle.” Beverage Daily

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Court upholds BPA listing as reproductive toxicant https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/court-upholds-bpa-listing-as-reproductive-toxicant https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/court-upholds-bpa-listing-as-reproductive-toxicant#respond Tue, 03 Nov 2020 18:30:31 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=327551 California court of appeal publishes final opinion; defends mechanism used by state government agency to identify bisphenol A (BPA) as reproductive toxicant under Proposition 65 legislation

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On October 19, 2020, the court of appeal for the US state of California published its final opinion upholding the recognition of the substance bisphenol A (BPA; CAS 80-05-7) as a reproductive toxicant and subject to regulatory requirements under California’s Proposition 65. The court case was originally brought by the American Chemistry Council (ACC) requesting that the state’s listing be blocked. The industry association had challenged the mechanism the state used to identify the substance as toxic to reproduction, which in this occurrence was reliant on information from an external “authoritative body”. The appeals court, however, has supported the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) in the mechanism it used to list the substance. The ACC maintains that the listing was not made according to sufficient evidence from an authoritative body, and it is now looking into its legal options regarding the case.

Reference

Third District Court of Appeal (October 19, 2020). “Opinion C079078: American Chemistry Council v. Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment et al.” (pdf)

Read More

Terry Hyland (October 22, 2020). “California appeals court upholds Prop 65 listing for BPA.” Chemical Watch

OEHHA (May 11, 2015). “Bisphenol-A Listed as Known to the State of California to Cause Reproductive Toxicity.”

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Study maps global uses of PFAS https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/study-maps-global-uses-of-pfas https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/study-maps-global-uses-of-pfas#respond Mon, 02 Nov 2020 14:36:33 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=327545 Researchers publish peer-reviewed study identifying over 200 use categories and subcategories for more than 1,400 individual per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS); finds the substances are used in almost all industry sectors and many consumer products; calls for public release of usage data

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On October 30, 2020, a team of researchers published an article in the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Science: Processes & Impacts that provides an overview of the global uses of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). Several thousand different PFAS are known to have been used across a wide range of applications, and there has not been a comprehensive source that provides information on these many individual substances and their functions across all applications. The international group of scientists have helped to address this gap and identified “more than 200 use categories and subcategories . . . for more than 1,400 individual PFAS” showing that “PFAS are used in almost all industry branches and many consumer products.” While significant efforts in research and policy have so far focused on well-known uses such as textiles, firefighting foams, and food packaging, this study identifies a wide range of less-known PFAS applications, including “in ammunition, climbing ropes, guitar strings, artificial turf, and soil remediation.”

The study offers detailed descriptions of the use categories as well as a list of the identified PFAS in each category with the aim of supporting future analytical studies on the diverse group of PFAS. Based on the current understanding of their toxicities, the authors prioritize a set of categories where the use of PFAS should be reduced and eliminated. This includes the application of PFAS in the surface protection of paper products (such as in food packaging). The study further identifies that current confidentiality practices being applied by regulatory agencies such as the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are significantly hindering the understanding of PFAS uses. To protect business confidentiality while still supporting safer use of these substances, the authors recommend that agencies such as the EPA release a ranking of PFAS applications without providing exact usage volumes.

The study was carried out by a team of scientists within the recently launched Global PFAS Science Panel (FPF reported), which has also published studies related to investigating the essential uses of PFAS and estimating the total human health and environmental impacts of the substances.

Reference

Glüge, J. et al. (October 16, 2020). “An overview of the uses of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).” Environmental Science: Processes & Impacts

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Overview of regulations and risk assessment of EDCs in FCMs https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/overview-of-regulations-and-risk-assessment-of-edcs-in-fcms https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/overview-of-regulations-and-risk-assessment-of-edcs-in-fcms#respond Mon, 02 Nov 2020 14:32:11 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=327544 Peer-reviewed article provides summary of migration and risk assessment methods used internationally to address endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) in food contact materials (FCMs); discusses legislative trends, remaining challenges

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On October 23, 2020, researchers from the Seberang Perai Selatan District Health Office and Universiti Sains in Malaysia as well as the Centro de Investigaciόn en Alimentaciόn y Desarrollo in Mexico published an article in the peer-reviewed journal Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition providing an overview of the migration of endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) from plastic packaging materials. The review offers a summary of the most common chemical risk assessment procedures taken, techniques being used to monitor migration, and relevant international regulations addressing EDCs in food contact materials (FCMs).

The article introduces the concept of migration, the types of chemicals that can migrate from FCMs, migration test methods being used for plastic FCMs, and present trends in risk assessment. In a section focusing on recent global advances in legislation pertaining to EDCs, the article discusses how the EU, US, South America, China, Japan, and Malaysia regulate FCMs and which regions specifically consider EDCs. As the demand for packaged food continues to increase, the authors identify the challenges that remain in identifying and assessing the presence of non-intentionally added substances (NIAS) and considering mixture toxicity and the non-monotonic dose responses of chemicals. Bioplastics are also highlighted as a growing material group with still developing legislation and research.

Reference

Ong, H. et al. (October 16, 2020). “Migration of endocrine-disrupting chemicals into food from plastic packaging materials: an overview of chemical risk assessment, techniques to monitor migration, and international regulations.” Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition

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ECHA launches SCIP database https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/echa-launches-scip-database https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/echa-launches-scip-database#respond Mon, 02 Nov 2020 14:28:43 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=327543 European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) opens database tracking substances of very high concern (SVHCs) present in products; companies required to submit information via the database beginning January 2021

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In a press release on October 28, 2020, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) announced the launch of its new database tracking the presence of substances of very high concern in products (SVHCs). As of January 5, 2021, the EU Waste Framework Directive requires companies to declare articles that are manufactured in or imported into the EU and contain SVHCs at concentrations greater than 0.1 % by weight. The database is known as SCIP, which stands for Substances of Concern In articles as such or in complex objects (Products). It is currently open only to companies, and ECHA explains that consumers and waste operators will be able to access the database as well beginning in February 2021.

“We need to know more about the hazardous chemicals in products so that they can be safely recycled. This is key for a better circular economy and essential to make the EU Green Deal work. The increased knowledge protects workers, citizens and the environment, helps consumers make safer choices and encourages industry to replace hazardous chemicals with safer ones. We call on industry to start submitting the data to us now and we stand ready to support them,” commented ECHA’s director, Bjorn Hansen.

A prototype version of the database was released for testing in February 2020 (FPF reported). A set of information requirements that will be submitted via the database was announced in September 2019 (FPF reported).

Read More

ECHA (October 28, 2020). “Tracking chemicals of concern in products – SCIP database ready for use.”

ECHA (November 19, 2020). “Get ready to submit your SCIP notification.”

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China proposes additions to FCM positive list https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/china-proposes-additions-to-fcm-positive-list https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/china-proposes-additions-to-fcm-positive-list#respond Mon, 02 Nov 2020 14:25:58 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=327542 China’s National Center for Food Safety Risk Assessment opens public consultation on three new substances for use in manufacture of food contact materials (FCMs), expanding the scope of use for three additives

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On October 23, 2020, news provider Chemical Watch reported on the launch of a consultation by China’s National Center for Food Safety Risk Assessment (CFSRA) to add three new substances to its positive list for use in manufacturing food contact materials and articles. The agency is also planning to expand the scope for three additives already included on the positive list.

The proposed new substances include: (i) calcium hydroxide as an additive for use in plastic polypropylene, (ii) C11-15-iso alkanes for use as additives in printing inks, (iii) a new resin for use in coatings and films made of 2-propenoic acid, 2-methyl-, polymer with N-(butoxymethyl)-2-propenamide, ethyl benzene and ethyl 2-propenoate.

The following additives are being proposed for an expanded scope: (i) extending the use of pigment blue 15 also to plastic polycyclohexylenedimethylene terephthalate (PCT), (ii) an unlimited maximum use level for glass fiber in polyethylene, polypropylene, and polystyrene plastics, (iii) and extending the use of talc also for inclusion in adhesives.

Public comments are being accepted until November 16, 2020.

Read More

Chemical Watch (October 23, 2020). “China proposes adding three new substances to FCM positive list.”

Reference

CFSRA (October 16, 2020). “Public solicitation on 6 new varieties of food-related products including calcium hydroxide.” (in Chinese)

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First episode of the ‘Unwrapping Food Packaging’ video blog published https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/first-episode-of-the-unwrapping-food-packaging-video-blog-published https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/first-episode-of-the-unwrapping-food-packaging-video-blog-published#respond Fri, 30 Oct 2020 15:04:55 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=327540 Food Packaging Forum launches new video blog explaining key topics within the field of food packaging and health; host Jane Muncke introduces viewers in the first episode to fundamentals of chemical migration, low dose exposures, and chemical mixtures

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The Food Packaging Forum has published the first episode of its new video blog “Unwrapping Food Packaging.” Hosted by Jane Muncke, the organization’s managing director, the series aims to introduce viewers from civil society organizations to fundamental topics and new scientific developments within the field of food packaging and health. This includes understanding the chemical composition of food packaging, how these chemicals can transfer into food, the potential resulting health impacts, and efforts being made by stakeholders to address this to protect human and environmental health.

In this first episode, Jane explains why food packaging cannot be considered “safe” in the sense of not containing hazardous chemicals. She introduces the fundamentals of chemical migration, toxicity of hazardous chemicals, low dose exposures, and chemical mixtures. The episode also discusses current gaps in the EU regulations on food contact materials (FCMs) and articles (FCAs).

Read More

Unwrapping Food Packaging (October 30, 2020). “Food packaging is safe, right? Food Packaging Forum

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European Council approves framework for drinking water recast https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/european-council-approves-framework-for-drinking-water-recast https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/european-council-approves-framework-for-drinking-water-recast#respond Fri, 30 Oct 2020 14:57:53 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=327539 Position supports recasting EU Drinking Water Directive to consider safety of materials that come into contact with drinking water; will specify minimum hygiene requirements, create positive lists of material starting substances, compositions, and chemical constituents

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On October 23, 2020, the European Council announced that it has formally adopted its position supporting a set of revisions to the EU Drinking Water Directive (98/83/EC). Having already been amended multiple times, the directive has been undergoing a recast to improve its clarity. The changes notably include the creation of a set of “specific minimum hygiene requirements for materials” (such as piping) that come into contact with water, which will include “positive lists of starting substances, compositions and constituents” used for the creation of such materials. These contact materials should also be taken into account during relevant risk assessments. The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) announced in January 2020 that it is planning to develop this positive list (FPF reported).

The Council’s position will now be sent to the European Parliament for approval before entering into force 20 days later. The Parliament is expected to approve the position without any further amendments. This lays the framework for the approach, but additional secondary legislation will still be required to define many of the details such as testing and data requirements. The positive list developed by ECHA is expected to be finalized and adopted by 2024.

Reference

European Council (October 23, 2020). “Safe and clean drinking water: Council adopts strict minimum quality standards.”

European Council (October 23, 2020). “Position of the Council at first reading with a view to the adoption of a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the quality of water intended for human consumption (recast).” (pdf)

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EFSA extends information call for two plastic FCM additives https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/efsa-extends-information-call-for-two-plastic-fcm-additives https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/efsa-extends-information-call-for-two-plastic-fcm-additives#respond Fri, 30 Oct 2020 14:53:16 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=327538 European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) extends information submission deadline on two amines approved as additives in plastic food contact materials (FCMs); information on FCM No. 19 and 20 due by December 31, 2020

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The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has announced that it is extending a public call for information on two substances used as additives in plastic food contact materials (FCMs): N,N-bis(2-hydroxyethyl)alkyl (C8-C18) amine (FCM No. 19), and N,N-bis(2-hydroxyethyl)alkyl (C8-C18) amine hydrochlorides (FCM No. 20). The agency originally set a deadline for information submission of April 20, 2020 (FPF reported), however Chemical Watch reports that it has extended the deadline until December 31, 2020 at the request of stakeholders still carrying out studies on the substances.

Both substances are listed within Annex I of Regulation (EU) No 10/2011 and have a group-specific migration limit (SML) of 1.2 mg/kg food, as well as other restrictions. EFSA informed that a business provided evidence that FCM No. 20 “may cause previously unknown adverse effects to health in an OECD 414 developmental toxicity study,” prompting the call for additional information.

Reference

EFSA (October 2020). “Call for technical and toxicological data on the substances “N,N-bis(2-hydroxyethyl)alkyl (C8-C18) amine (FCM No 19) and “N,N-bis(2-hydroxyethyl)alkyl (C8-C18) amine hydrochlorides (FCM No 20) for their use in plastic materials and articles intended to come into contact with food, including in food for infants.” (pdf)

Read More

Chemical Watch (October 22, 2020). “Efsa extends call for data on two plastic FCM additives.”

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FPF Workshop 2020: Proceedings available https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/fpf-workshop-2020-proceedings-available https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/fpf-workshop-2020-proceedings-available#respond Thu, 29 Oct 2020 10:39:48 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=327526 8th annual Food Packaging Forum workshop focuses on linking policy-making with scientific research to improve the safety of food contact materials; video recordings, presentation slides, and summary articles now available online

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On October 21-23, 2020, the Food Packaging Forum (FPF) held its 8th annual workshop in a virtual format under the theme “Improving the chemical safety of food contact articles: Linking policy-making with scientific research.” The event provided a platform to learn about the latest scientific research, policy-making, and advocacy related to the chemical safety of food contact materials (FCMs) and articles (FCAs). Due to the ongoing pandemic, the workshop took place in an entirely virtual format with over 200 registered participants from across the food, chemical, and packaging industries, as well as from trade associations, retailers, environmental, health and consumer organizations, testing laboratories, academia, government authorities, and consultancies.

The event was split across three days into two-hour sessions. Participants had the opportunity to ask live questions following the presentations, to join small break-out group discussions with other participants, and to take part in informal small group discussions with each of the speakers. The video recordings and slides from most presentations given during the event are now publicly available. A series of summary articles have also been published reporting on each of the presentations. The Whova virtual platform used during the workshop will remain open for registered participants to continue discussing and networking until April 2021.

The first day of the workshop included presentations on the Food Packaging Forum’s work within the past year (FPF reported), food contact material (FCM) safety assessment at the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) (FPF reported), a recent analysis of the toxicities of bioplastics (FPF reported), and hazardous chemicals present in plastic and glass packaging (FPF reported).

The second day continued with a set of three presentations focused on the role of independent scientific experts in identifying carcinogens (FPF reported), values and transparency in science (FPF reported), and lessons learned from the CLARITY-BPA project (FPF reported).

The final day of the workshop featured a set of six presentations (FPF reported) on (i) the development of a single-use scorecard for food packaging, (ii) implementation of the essential use concept to phase out hazardous substances, (iii) state-level action on hazardous chemicals in FCMs in the US, (iv) a perspective on FCM research and risk assessment from the European Food Safety Authority, (v) how the EU chemical strategy for sustainability is relevant for FCMs, and (vi) efforts from a coalition of non-governmental organizations to revise European FCM regulations.

Read More

Food Packaging Forum (October 23, 2020). “Improving the chemical safety of food contact articles: Linking policy-making with scientific research.”

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FPF Workshop 2020: Scientific research and policy making https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/fpf-workshop-2020-scientific-research-and-policy-making https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/fpf-workshop-2020-scientific-research-and-policy-making#respond Thu, 29 Oct 2020 10:27:29 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=327524 Six speakers share their views on how to improve food contact material (FCM) safety; different approaches might complement one another; linking scientific research, policy making and industry initiatives could be the key to safe FCMs

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The 8th Food Packaging Forum (FPF) workshop on “Improving the chemical safety of food contact articles: Linking policy-making with scientific research” took place on October 21-23, 2020. This year the FPF workshop was a web-based event only, which nevertheless provided a good opportunity for networking and discussions among the more than 200 registered participants. On October 23, 2020, six speakers gave short overviews of their topics, before all of them joined the general discussion on the advancement of scientific research and policy making to improve FCM safety.

In the first presentation, Jonathan Kaplan, Sustainability Specialist at the Compass Group, US, explained the single-use material scorecard that is being developed by a broad coalition of food service providers and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Kaplan stated that the verification of claims made by packaging producers was identified as a difficulty in evaluating the best solution to tackle the problems caused using single-use packaging. Therefore, the group decided to build a free scorecard to educate the food industry about the impacts of disposables and to show how reusable alternatives compare. The scorecard is based on six metrics, i.e., climate, water, sustainable sourcing, recoverability, plastic pollution, and possible chemicals of concern. Detailing the latest matrix, Kaplan showed a tiered system based on different lists of chemicals of concern.

Ian Cousins, Professor at Stockholm University, Sweden, shared his insights into the essential use concept by using the example of phasing out hazardous substances. Because of the large number of hazardous substances and their broad range of uses, it is impractical to completely ban them in one step. Cousins and his colleagues examined the successful phase-out of substances depleting the ozone layer that was published in the Montreal protocol and applied this idea for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). They defined and categorized the uses of PFAS as “essential”, “substitutable” and “non-essential”. For food packaging, Cousin’s group judged most applications to be non-essential or substitutable uses, which thus would not hinder a phase-out of PFAS but drive innovation.

State-level actions on hazardous chemicals in food contact materials (FCMs) in the US were the topic of the presentation by Lisa Cox who is a Senior Toxics Reduction Analyst at the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, US. Cox shared the state government perspective by describing the federal regulatory scenario and the roles of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In addition, she explained how federal agencies and states interact to implement and enforce laws. With respect to PFAS, most states have been focusing on drinking water and measured emissions into the environment rather than levels of these hazardous chemicals in products, Cox pointed out. However, some states, such as Iowa and Washington, took independent actions to reduce PFAS in food packaging (FPF reported).

Claudia Roncancio Peña, Head of Food Ingredients and Packaging Unit at the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), introduced EFSA’s perspective on advancing research on food contact materials (FCMs) and their risk assessment. While preparing the publication of the European Green Deal (FPF reported), the European Commission asked ESFA for specific input on the EU Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability (CSS), Roncancio Peña reported. As a result, EFSA and the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) published a joint position paper on the “one substance – one assessment” approach (OSOA) which is based on three pillars. The first of these pillars is a central coordination mechanism, the second a better distribution of tasks between the agencies, and the third pillar concerns access to available data in the same structured format. The starting point would be better coordination between all agencies, improved IT tools, access to the data and underlying studies. To facilitate the OSAO approach, similar expertise is needed in all agencies, Roncancio Peña pointed out. Pilot projects for the risk assessment of FCMs are planned to advance FCM research and risk assessment.

Xenia Trier, Expert on Chemicals, Environment and Health at the European Environment Agency (EEA), presented the EU CSS and its implications for FCMs (FPF reported). According to the CSS, chemicals shall be used and produced in a way that maximizes their benefits while avoiding harm to humans and the environment, Trier explained. In addition, it aims at the production of safe and sustainable chemicals that shall become the EU market norm and a global standard by strengthened legislation, simplifying and consolidation, and boosting innovation. Tools to reach these aims include the design of safe and sustainable chemicals, materials, products, and processes which are based on comprehensive knowledge. Trier illustrated these approaches by showing examples of FCMs that could be affected by the CSS.

In the last presentation of the session, Natacha Cingotti, Senior Policy Officer from Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL), reflected the efforts from an NGO coalition in revising the European FCM regulations. As a starting question, Cingotti asked how regulations can guarantee the safety of FCMs since several limitations are currently not addressed (e.g., no harmonized regulations for many types of FCMs, focus on starting substances but not final products, issues with chemical safety of recycled products). Cingotti described a significant gap between the claims and the reality that was already identified by the EC’s Joint Research Centre (FPF reported). Civil societies are calling for change, because they see the need for policy makers to increasingly take scientific evidence into account, Cingotti explained. In 2018, a group of 25 European civil society groups published five key principles for reform of the FCM legislation (FPF reported). Currently, there are more opportunities to suggest changes in the regulation, e.g., by contributing to the Inception Impact Assessment of the FCM legislation that is announced to be launched in November 2020, Cingotti concluded.

References

Jonathan Kaplan (October 23,2020). “Development of a single-use material scorecard.” (YouTube; pdf)

Ian Cousins (October 23, 2020). “The essential use concept: Practical application for phasing out hazardous substances.” (YouTube; pdf)

Lisa Cox (October 23, 2020). “State-level actions on hazardous chemicals in food contact materials in the US.” (YouTube; pdf)

Claudia Roncancio Peña (October 23, 2020). “Advancing FCM research and risk assessment: A perspective from the European Food Safety Authority.” (recorded presentation not available)

Xenia Trier (October 23, 2020). “The EU Chemical Strategy for Sustainability’s relevance for FCMs” (YouTube; pdf)

Natacha Cingotti (October 23, 2020). “Revising European FCM regulations: Efforts from an NGO coalition.” (YouTube; pdf)

Read More

Kathryn Carlson (October 22, 2020). “Clear ‘essential use’ definition key for safer chemical alternatives, says Envi vice-chair.” Chemical Watch

Leigh Stringer (October 22, 2020). “Essential use concept could lead to ‘unjustified’ regulatory measures, says AmCham EU.” Chemical Watch

Clelia Oziel (October 22, 2020). “Science team behind ‘essential use’ in EU strategy set to refine PFAS criteria.” Chemical Watch

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FPF Workshop 2020: Lessons learned from Clarity-BPA https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/fpf-workshop-2020-lessons-learned-from-clarity-bpa https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/fpf-workshop-2020-lessons-learned-from-clarity-bpa#respond Thu, 29 Oct 2020 10:12:34 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=327523 Laura Vandenberg gives overview of CLARITY-BPA project; compares results of guideline and academic studies; concludes that lowest BPA dose had effects across organs

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The 8th Food Packaging Forum (FPF) workshop on “Improving the chemical safety of food contact articles: Linking policy-making with scientific research” took place on October 21-23, 2020. This year the FPF workshop was a web-based event only, which nevertheless provided a good opportunity for networking and discussions among the more than 200 registered participants.

On October 22, 2020, Laura Vandenberg, Associate Professor at University of Massachusetts Amherst, US, analyzed and interpreted data generated within the Consortium Linking Academic and Regulatory Insights on bisphenol A Toxicity (CLARITY-BPA) (FPF reported).

After introducing the different applications of bisphenol A (BPA, CAS 80-05-7) that may lead to human exposure, Vandenberg emphasized that more than 100 scientific studies show associations between BPA exposure and human diseases. Then she gave a short crash-course in chemical safety testing that traditionally measures visible and obvious effects in many animals at rather high doses (e.g., changes in organ and body weight, clinical signs, histopathological differences).

Prior to CLARITY-BPA, guideline studies reported that high doses of BPA (up to 50 mg per kg bodyweight (bw) per day) altered the health of the kidneys and livers of test animals, Vandenberg noted. In contrast, hundreds of animal studies done in academic labs described adverse effects of BPA related to reproduction, health and disease of the mammary gland, the immune system, metabolic endpoints, brain structure, and neurobehavior. Vandenberg explained that the different results between guideline and academic studies could be based on differences in sample sizes, sensitivity, relevance to disease, and study reliability.

CLARITY-BPA was initiated to bridge these gaps by looking at the same questions with different hypotheses and by integrating the results of guideline and academic studies. By summarizing the results of the guideline studies, Vandenberg showed adverse effects in the lowest dose group (2.5 µg BPA/kg bw/day), including an increased rate of mammary cancer cases and prostate inflammation. To Vandenberg’s surprise, prior guideline studies did not see these effects. In addition, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) considered these low-dose effects not as concern and adverse outcomes were only included in the risk assessment if they increased with dose. In the academic studies, the same animals were examined by sending samples to 13 different laboratories. Again, diverse effects of BPA were found in all dose groups. According to Vandenberg, CLARITY-BPA was still an imperfect study due to problems with gavaging animals, BPA contamination, the use of historical controls, difficulties in reproducibility, and underpowered academic studies (FPF reported).

In her final remarks, Vandenberg said that we need to back-away from the single data sets to recognize patterns in the whole picture. She referred to a study by Heindel and colleagues stating that the lowest doses that were administered in the CLARITY-BPA study have consistently elicited effects across organs (FPF reported).

Read more

Laura Vandenberg (October 22,2020). “Lessons learned from Clarity-BPA.” (YouTube; pdf)

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FPF Workshop 2020: Values and transparency in science https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/fpf-workshop-2020-values-and-transparency-in-science https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/fpf-workshop-2020-values-and-transparency-in-science#respond Thu, 29 Oct 2020 10:09:03 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=327522 Kevin Elliott discusses how values can influence scientific judgements or be themselves affected by them; transparency plays an important role in responding to challenges caused by value-laden judgements; contents and venues chosen for transparent communication need to be adjusted according to each stakeholder’s needs

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The 8th Food Packaging Forum (FPF) workshop “Improving the chemical safety of food contact articles: Linking policy-making with scientific research” took place online on October 21-23, 2020.

Kevin Elliott from Department of Philosophy, Michigan State University, presented his perspectives on values and transparency in science. He explored how values can relate to science, illustrated by three examples focusing on study design and interpretation, standards of evidence, and problem framing. He further discussed the role of transparency in addressing values, particularly, “why it’s important” and “why it’s more complicated than it seems.”

In relation to science, the word “values” can mean a variety of things, including worldviews, ethical principles, social values, personal priorities or inclinations, scientific paradigms, and disciplinary orientations. Elliott explained that values often act as causes of scientific judgements but can also themselves be affected by scientific judgements. For example, values can influence both the design and the interpretation of a particular study, as Fern Wickson and Brian Wynne discussed in their article “The anglerfish deception,” published in 2012 in the peer-reviewed journal EMBO Reports.

Further, Elliott observed that “differing views about the reliability of regulatory guideline studies versus peer-reviewed academic studies drive many controversies in toxicology.” A prominent example in this regard is a lack of consensus of what constitutes an ‘adverse’ effect. As Laura Vandenberg and Gail Prins summarized in a 2016 paper discussing bisphenol A (BPA, CAS 80-09-5) research, some scientists require demonstration of “overt signs of toxicity,” while others focus on more subtle “predictors of disease,” such as disruption of development or homeostasis. In this regard, as Heather Douglas has pointed out in her 2009 book, “many scientific disputes boil down to disagreements about how much evidence to demand before drawing conclusions.” This could concern, for example, the number or types of studies needed to draw a conclusion, or accepted levels of statistical significance. Elliott illustrated these points on the example of different assessments of glyphosate carcinogenicity issued by the International Agency of Research on Cancer (IARC) and European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).

Lastly, as highlighted by Hugh Lacey in his book published in 1999, different approaches to framing a problem could also represent a significant form of judgment, and “this overarching judgment can in turn affect many other judgments.” For example, different framing approaches could “encourage different study designs, different standards of evidence, and different interpretations of ambiguous evidence.”

How can scientists acknowledge and deal with such “value-laden judgements” responsibly? In his 2017 book, Elliott outlines three different ways to respond to these challenges, including “making responsible choices that reflect ethical and social priorities,” promoting “engagement among interested and affected parties,” and “striving for transparency about the choices made.” In particular, being transparent about value-laden judgements “helps preserve the credibility of science because others can decide how to respond,” e.g., choose to use or not use a particular scientific work, or use it for specific purposes only, or even reinterpret the conclusions “based on one’s own values and preferred judgements.” With this, Elliott does not want to say that everyone should be free to interpret science based on their own values, but rather refers specifically to cases of ambiguous evidence.

Elliott also pointed out that “transparency is more complicated than it might initially appear,” in particular with regard to how to communicate the transparency. In a paper published in 2020, Elliott defined seven dimensions of transparency. A scientist has to make a decision about what he wants to communicate about, and this in turn would define the audience he/she is trying to reach. Different audiences (e.g., scientists, policy makers, public, or specific communities) actually care about somewhat different content, and different actors or different venues could be more appropriate for communicating different kinds of information. Based on this, one can also define certain dangers of being transparent.

In a commentary published in 2019, Elliott and Resnik suggested that the open science movement so far tends to be focused on avenues for openness which are relevant only to other scientists. Therefore, they encouraged seeking ways to reach a range of other stakeholders, including members of the general public. Thinking about the stakeholders, one should decide what kinds of content these audiences need. While some might be interested in detailed data and technical discussions, others may just want “basic clarifications of key judgements” along with “indicators of potential values.” In another paper, Elliott suggested that science journalism, when done well, could be a valuable resource for the general public as a way of advancing the open science movement by clarifying some of the key messages in a basic way.

Organizations in the best position to provide this sort of transparency would be those which can contribute to building the “networks of different actors and organizations.” As an example of such an organization, he brought up the Food Packaging Forum and suggested, as a way forward, to concentrate on “what level of clarifications do particular stakeholders need” and “what are the best avenues for clarifying these issues for different stakeholder communities.”

Read more

Kevin Elliott (October 22, 2020). “Values and transparency in science: A view from the philosophy of science.” (YouTube; pdf)

References

Wickson, F., and Wynne, B. (2012). “The anglerfish deception.” EMBO Reports 13: 100-105.

Vandenberg, L, and Prins, G.S. (2016). “Clarity in the face of confusion: new studies tip the scales on bisphenol A (BPA).Andrology 4: 561-564.

Heather Douglas (2009). “Science, policy, and the value-free ideal.” University of Pittsburgh Press DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt6wrc78

Portier, C.J., et al. (2016). “Differences in the carcinogenic evaluation of glyphosate between the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health 70: 741-745.

Hugh Lacey (1999). “Is science value free? Values and scientific understanding.” DOI 10.1093/mind/110.438.495

Kevin Elliott (2017). “A tapestry of values: An introduction to values in science.Oxford Scholarship Online DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190260804.001.0001

Kevin Elliott (2020). “A taxonomy of transparency in science.Canadian Journal of Philosophy DOI: 10.1017/can.2020.21

Elliott, K.C., and Resnik, D.B. (2019). “Making open science work for science and society.Environmental Health Perspectives 127: 4808.

Kevin Elliott (2019). “Science journalism, value judgements, and the open science movement.Frontiers in Communication DOI: 10.3389/fcomm.2019.00071

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FPF Workshop 2020: Work of IARC explained https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/fpf-workshop-2020-work-of-iarc-explained https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/fpf-workshop-2020-work-of-iarc-explained#respond Thu, 29 Oct 2020 10:00:45 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=327520 Kate Guyton reviews the work of International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), underlines the essential role played by independent scientific experts, describes processes used for evidence synthesis and carcinogen classification; key characteristics of carcinogens constitute an important approach to cancer hazard identification

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The 8th Food Packaging Forum (FPF) workshop “Improving the chemical safety of food contact articles: Linking policy-making with scientific research” took place online on October 21-23, 2020.

On October 22, Kate Guyton from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), France, explained the approaches followed by the agency in carrying out its assessment and in preparing the IARC Monographs. She emphasized the important role played by independent experts in preparing the evaluations and described the approaches used for cancer hazard classification, evidence synthesis, and carcinogen classification.

IARC is involved in both generating and evaluating data on carcinogens, and it has been publishing its Monographs since 1971. The procedures followed to conduct the IARC Monographs evaluations are transparently communicated in a preamble published with each Monograph (last updated in January 2019). The evaluations are carried out by working groups consisting of “independent scientists without conflicts of interest.” A working group may also include invited specialists, representatives of governments, and observers. These participants “attend meetings but do not draft text or contribute to evaluations.” Meetings are usually announced around one year ahead, and interested stakeholders can nominate themselves to join a particular meeting. All published Monographs can be freely accessed online.

The considered evidence covers “exposure in humans, cancer in humans, and mechanisms.” There are specific challenges arising in dealing with each data stream, and Guyton illustrated these in detail on the example of mechanistic data. “Key characteristics” represent a recent approach developed for organizing “voluminous” mechanistic data and using it for cancer hazard classification (FPF reported). Recently, a website has been launched where one can learn more about the key characteristics framework (FPF reported) and review the key characteristics of carcinogens and other types of hazardous chemicals, such as endocrine disruptors (FPF reported). Guyton also touched on the similarities and differences between the key characteristics and the adverse outcome pathway frameworks using the example of benzene. Lastly, she reviewed the approaches taken by the IARC to synthesize the available evidence and decide on the resulting carcinogen classification. The latest update related to this is the adoption of a “single step integration” approach.

Lastly, Guyton reviewed “future priorities for evaluation” in a timeframe up to 2024, as summarized in a report published in 2019. She emphasized that every stakeholder can nominate an agent for future evaluation or re-evaluation by IARC.

Read more

Kate Guyton (October 22, 2020). “Identifying carcinogens: The essential role of independent scientific experts.” (YouTube; pdf)

References

IARC (2019). “IARC monographs on the identification of carcinogenic hazards to humans. PREAMBLE.(pdf)

Smith, M.T., et al. (2016). “Key characteristics of carcinogens as a basis for organizing data on mechanisms of carcinogenesis.Environmental Health Perspectives 124: 713-721.

Guyton, K.Z., et al. (2018). “Application of the key characteristics of carcinogens in cancer hazard identification.Carcinogenesis 39: 614.

La Merrill, M., et al. (2019). “Consensus on the key characteristics of endocrine-disrupting chemicals as a basis for hazard identification.Nature Reviews: Endocrinology 16: 45-57.

IARC (2019). “IARC monographs on the identification of carcinogenic hazards to humans. Report of the Advisory Group to recommend priorities for the IARC Monographs during 2020-2024.(pdf)

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FPF Workshop 2020: Hazardous chemicals in FCMs https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/fpf-workshop-2020-hazardous-chemicals-in-fcms https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/fpf-workshop-2020-hazardous-chemicals-in-fcms#respond Thu, 29 Oct 2020 09:54:19 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=327518 Stefan Merkel presents recent work of German Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR); Lisa Zimmermann discusses bioassay-based toxicity assessment of conventional plastics, bioplastics, and plant-based materials; Andrew Turner emphasizes presence of toxic brominated flame retardants in recycled plastics, uses of hazardous heavy metals in colored decorations applied to glass articles

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The 8th Food Packaging Forum (FPF) workshop “Improving the chemical safety of food contact articles: Linking policy-making with scientific research” took place online on October 21-23, 2020.

In his talk, Stefan Merkel from the German Federal Institute of Risk Assessment (BfR) discussed recent projects pursued by BfR in the area of risk assessment of chemicals migrating from food contact materials (FCM) into food. One example concerned the migration of melamine (CAS 108-78-1) and formaldehyde (CAS 50-00-0) from ‘melaware’ (articles made from melamine-formadehyde resin) and ‘bambooware’ (articles made from melamine-formaldehyde resin filled with bamboo fibers). Specific migration limits (SML) given for melamine and formaldehyde in the regulation (EU) 10/2011 on food contact plastics are 15 mg/kg and 2.5 mg/kg food or food simulant, respectively. Migration of melamine was found to increase with each successive migration round, exceeding the SML after about 7-8 migrations. Migration from ‘bambooware’ was much higher, exceeding the SML from the beginning and showing similar behavior to further increase with each succeeding migration round. Migration of melamine and formaldehyde was also found to strongly increase after heating, for example in an experiment simulating the use of coffee in a mug made of ‘bambooware.’ BfR concluded that tableware based on melamine-formaldehyde resin “can be used to consume foodstuffs at room temperature,” but it should not be used in microwave ovens or to hold hot meals or beverages, because this material is “degraded and damaged by contact with hot liquids” and it is particularly “not suited for repeated usage in contact with hot liquid foodstuffs” (FPF reported).

For many FCMs not yet having a dedicated EU-wide regulation, BfR has issued so-called recommendations which can be freely downloaded from its website. BfR’s Recommendation XXXVI covers paper and board for food contact. Bisphenol A (BPA, CAS 80-05-7) is not included in this recommendation as a substance allowed to be used in food contact paper production. However, it could still appear in the food contact paper due to the use of recycled fibers, which are allowed to be used as raw materials for the production of food contact paper. Therefore, the Annex of Recommendation XXXVI indicates a maximum value for migration of BPA into food from paper/board FCMs. Until 2015, this value was 600 µg/kg food, but then was lowered to 240 µg/kg food and then to 50 µg/kg food.

Lisa Zimmermann from the Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany, presented the results of her recent work applying non-targeted chemical analysis and in vitro bioassays to investigate the chemical composition and toxicity of mixtures extractable from articles made of conventional plastics, bioplastics, and plant-based materials. In 2019, a mixture of substances extracted from bioplastics such as polylactic acid (PLA) was found to exert similar toxicity as that found in conventional plastics such as polyvinylchloride (PVC) and polyurethane (PUR) (FPF reported). Now, high toxicity was confirmed for some products made of a wider variety of bioplastics, including PLA, bio-based polyethylene (bio-PE) and polyethylene terephthalate (bio-PET), PLA, polybutylene succinate (PBS), polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA), and polybutylene adipate terephthalate (PBAT), as well as for cellulose-based and starch-based materials (FPF reported). The observed toxic effects included baseline toxicity (frequent), oxidative stress and estrogenicity (rare), and anti-androgenicity (frequent).

Zimmerman concluded that “toxicologically, bio-based/biodegradable materials are not better than conventional plastics” and called for a more targeted consideration of chemical toxicity in the design of (bio)plastic products. She then discussed opportunities and challenges posed by increased use of bioplastics replacing conventional plastics in some food contact applications. As a way forward, Zimmermann suggested that considerations related to chemical safety should receive more weight in regulations and frameworks aimed at comparing the safety and sustainability of different FCAs, such as life cycle analysis. To enable appropriate assessment of chemical safety, complexity of chemicals and polymers used in food contact may need to be reduced, and chemical composition of FCAs should be transparently communicated. In addition, instead of assessing one substance at a time, Zimmermann recommended to test the whole migrate from the final FCA. Complex requirements placed on different types of FCAs are resulting in complex challenges. This makes a “one-size-fits-all solution unlikely” and instead necessitates a differentiated approach, where the most sustainable products should be developed and evaluated to be selected for each niche separately.

Andrew Turner from the University of Plymouth, UK, talked about hazardous elements in plastic and glass articles for food contact and storage. According to Turner, four groups of plastic additives represent a particular concern with regard to human health, namely flame retardants, heat stabilizers, pigments, and plasticizers. Turner discussed studies demonstrating the likely presence of brominated flame retardants in FCAs made of black plastics, introduced there through contamination of recycling streams with waste electric and electronic equipment (WEEE) (FPF reported). Two of the tested cocktail stirrers had such high concentration of bromine (pointing to the likely presence of brominated flame retardants) that they would not have been allowed to be used to make a laptop case according to the Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) directive (Directive 2002/95/EC).

Toxic heavy metals, such as cadmium (Cd, CAS 7440-43-9) and lead (Pb, CAS 7439-92-1) were also regularly detected in products made of black plastics, including many FCAs. Two regulations of relevance to heavy metals in food contact plastics include Directive 94/62/EC which regulates Cd, Pb, Cr(VI) and Hg in packaging and packaging waste, and Directive 2002/72/EC which regulates Pb and Cr (VI) in FCAs. Black plastics where high concentrations of Br, Cd, and Pb were frequently detected were often made of polyethyelene (PE), polypropylene (PP), polystyrene (PS), and acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) plastic polymers. In contrast, these elements were never detected in black plastics made of polyethylene terephthalate (PET). PET is only infrequently used in electronics, which is probably the reason why this material escapes this “toxic cycling,” Turner explained.

He then turned to discussing Cd and Pb content in outside enamels brought on decorated glassware. Very high concentrations of these metals measured in some of the products are likely due to the use of metal-containing pigments, such as heat resistant pigment containing Cd or Pb-containing overglaze. Turner explained that the use of these pigments as glass decorations does not make the product non-compliant, because they are considered as part of the glass, and, divided by the overall weight of a bottle, the levels appear to be much lower. However, he questioned whether external decoration really should be considered as part of the glass and suggested to address the question whether it would “come-off” from a product. Indeed, Turner then showed a product where exterior decoration became detached, likely because the Cd-containing pigment was unglazed, and concluded that such products both pose a “significant direct human health risk” and add to the contamination of glass cullet. According to Turner, FCM safety issues requiring immediate attention include “(i) export of hazardous plastics; (ii) recycling of materials into products serving a different function; (iii) components of articles that pose a hazard.” In a subsequent Q&A session, it was commented that products featuring external decorations which could be based on heavy metal-containing pigments constitute a relatively low proportion (1-2%) of all glass-made FCAs. Further, efforts are being made to eliminate or substitute the use of heavy metal-based pigments for external decoration of glass articles.

References

Stefan Merkel (October 21, 2020). “FCM safety assessment at the German BfR.” (YouTube; pdf)

Lisa Zimmermann (October 21, 2020). “Recent analysis on the toxicities of bioplastics and plant-based materials.” (YouTube; pdf)

Andrew Turner (October 21, 2020). “Hazardous chemicals in plastic and glass articles for food contact and storage.” (YouTube; pdf)

Read More

European Bioplastics (October 29, 2020). “Hazardous chemicals in plastic and glass articles for food contact and storage.”

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FPF Workshop 2020: FPF year in review https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/fpf-workshop-2020-fpf-year-in-review https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/fpf-workshop-2020-fpf-year-in-review#respond Thu, 29 Oct 2020 09:45:07 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=327517 Martin Scheringer reviews the Food Packaging Forum’s work in 2020; discusses scientific consensus statement on food contact chemicals (FCCs) and health, ongoing projects aiming to understand contribution of FCC exposure to chronic diseases of public health concern

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The 8th Food Packaging Forum (FPF) workshop “Improving the chemical safety of food contact articles: Linking policy-making with scientific research” took place online on October 21-23, 2020. The opening talk by Martin Scheringer from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich), Switzerland, who is also the president of the Food Packaging Forum’s (FPF) foundation board, presented a summary of FPF’s work in the past year.

In March 2020, FPF staff, together with over two dozens of international scientists and experts, published a peer-reviewed scientific consensus statement on food contact chemicals (FCCs) and human health. The statement identified seven specific areas for improvement and urged decision makers to reduce exposure to harmful FCCs originating from food contact materials and articles (FCMs/FCAs), as this is expected to contribute to prevention of chronic diseases prevalent in the human population.

The chemical complexity of FCMs and FCAs presents a continuous challenge with regard to hazard and risk assessment for FCCs that may migrate into food and thus contribute to human chemical exposure. Indeed, many FCCs are known to be hazardous to human health. At the same time, many FCCs remain poorly characterized or even entirely unknown, as is often the case for non-intentionally added substances (NIAS), but also, surprisingly, for many intentionally added substances (IAS) as well. Overall, “there is a lot of uncertainty associated with the human exposure to FCCs and with the health effects to which these chemicals may contribute,” Scheringer emphasized.

In an effort to reduce this uncertainty, FPF initiated the project Food Contact Chemicals and Human Health (FCCH). In a first step, a database of intentionally added food contact chemicals (FCCdb) has been compiled. Currently, the FCCdb records over 12’000 FCCs extracted from over 50 globally sourced regulatory and industry documents. Based on available authoritative hazard data, 608 of these FCCs were prioritized as the most urgent substitution candidates. Based on authoritative hazard data, 608 FCCs were prioritized as the most urgent substitution candidates. A publication describing the FCCdb has been recently accepted in Environment International and will soon appear in print.

Currently, the FCCH project members focus on systematic mapping of literature on FCCs that are known to migrate or be extractable from FCMs/FCAS. Next, human exposure evidence from biomonitoring studies will be reviewed, and then the associations between the human exposure-relevant FCCs and adverse human health outcomes will be addressed.

Scheringer stressed that more types of toxic effects need to be considered, in particular endocrine disruption, when identifying FCCs which could be hazardous to human health. In addition, mixture toxicity needs to be properly addressed. To identify viable solutions, a continuous multi-stakeholder dialogue is essential, and one of the FPF’s mission is supporting and further developing such a dialogue among FCM experts from different backgrounds.

Read more

Martin Scheringer (October 21, 2020). “Improving the chemical safety of food contact articles: Food Packaging Forum’s work in 2020.” (YouTube; pdf)

Reference

Muncke, J., et al. (2020). “Impacts of food contact chemicals on human health: a consensus statement.Environmental Health 19: 25.

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EC publishes working documents on EDC fitness check https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/ec-publishes-working-documents-on-edc-fitness-check https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/ec-publishes-working-documents-on-edc-fitness-check#respond Wed, 28 Oct 2020 13:43:33 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=327509 European Commission (EC) publishes set of staff working documents detailing outcomes of the fitness check on endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs); recommends simplifications, moving towards single assessment approach, applying data generated within other legislation to food contact materials, considering mixtures

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On October 14, 2020, the European Commission (EC) published a working document and related executive summary on the outcomes of a fitness check carried out on the effectiveness of existing EU legislation in managing exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs). The documents were published alongside the release of the new European chemicals strategy, together with a set of other working documents including one addressing per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and another on managing exposures to chemical mixtures.  Specifically, the fitness check on EDCs “focused on the coherence of EU legislation in this area, and looked at whether the legislation is effective in delivering on its objective to protect human health and the environment by identifying and minimising exposure to these chemicals” (FPF reported).

The executive summary concludes that “based on the limited number of substances that have been identified as endocrine disruptors or as not being endocrine disruptors, the fitness check could find no evidence of inconsistent identification across the legislation.” However, it also recognizes that the current lack of a unified approach within the EU for identifying EDCs “renders decision-making less transparent and more complex.” It suggests the current criteria under the EU plant protection and biocidal products regulations as a potential starting point for a cross-sectorial definition for EU legislation.

The document further identifies a current lack of required mechanistic tests for determining endocrine activity under existing regulations, including REACH. The EC therefore reports that it is working to update the data requirements. The fitness check further recognizes that product-specific legislation such as those on food contact materials (FCMs) do not currently have guidance in place for managing EDCs, and they do not consider such relevant data generated under other legislation, such as REACH. In the aim to move towards a ‘one substance-one assessment’ process, the EC recommends in the document that options for simplification should be explored, including consistent use of generated data across the different pieces of legislation. It also intends to revise current approaches to manage “the risks resulting from aggregate and combined exposures (mixtures) to different endocrine disruptors.”

Reference

European Commission (October 14, 2020). “Commission Staff Document: Executive Summary of the Fitness Check on Endocrine Disruptors.” (pdf)

European Commission (October 14, 2020). “Commission Staff Document: Fitness Check on Endocrine Disruptors.” (pdf)

Read More

Emma Davies (October 22, 2020). “European Commission: ‘No evidence’ that EDs are identified inconsistently.” Chemical Watch

Chemical Watch (October 22, 2020). “Impurities might determine substance ED classification, EU biocides regulators say.”

Clelia Oziel (October 27, 2020). “Commission to target REACH restrictions, PFASs, EDCs first in new strategy.” Chemical Watch

European Commission (October 29, 2020). “Fitness Check on endocrine disruptors: some room for improvement.”

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15th European Bioplastics Conference https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/15th-european-bioplastics-conference https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/15th-european-bioplastics-conference#respond Wed, 28 Oct 2020 13:38:25 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=327508 Annual event switches to entirely virtual format on November 30 through December 3, 2020; will feature range of speakers from across the bioplastics industry; offer networking opportunities with brands, policy makers, academic researchers

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On November 30 through December 3, 2020, the industry association European Bioplastics will hold its 15th annual conference in an entirely virtual format. The event will feature presentations and networking with brands, policy makers, academia, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) from across the bioplastics industry. The final program will be published soon, and the full program for the 2019 event, as well as a list of its speakers, and a summary of its registered attendees are available for review. Following the event, all the recorded presentations will be made available on demand to participants for thirty days. Registration is open.

Read More

European Bioplastics (October 2020). “European Bioplastics Conference.”

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‘The trouble with plastics’ https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/the-trouble-with-plastics https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/the-trouble-with-plastics#respond Wed, 28 Oct 2020 11:41:32 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=327503 Special issue of peer-reviewed journal Birth Defects Research presents a collection of articles on plastics’ effects on human health, with a particular focus on early development

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In an editorial published on September 8, 2020, in the peer-reviewed journal Birth Defects Research, Michiko Watanabe from the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Cleveland, Ohio, USA, and John Rogers from the National Health Effects and Environmental Research Laboratory of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), North Carolina, USA, introduced a special issue titled “The Trouble with Plastics.” The editors observe that “plastics surround us,” and, “as much as we need plastics, we also need to be aware of how they impact the environment, our health, and that of our children and their children.” The articles in the special issue describe “many of the ways in which plastics negatively impact our health and induce birth defects, some that may not manifest until later in life.” Watanabe and Rogers emphasize that “these findings should motivate us to consider with some urgency what we can do to minimize or avoid the negative impact of plastics.”

The article by Philippa Darbre from the School of Biological Sciences, University of Reading, UK, “provides an overview of endocrine disrupting chemicals present in plastics.” Exposure to these chemicals during a “vulnerable ‘window of susceptibility’ in utero or during early life [may lead] to consequences [which] may arise later in life in the form of reproductive difficulties, metabolic disorders, thyroid dysfunction, immune dysregulation, adverse neurobehavioral outcomes, or cancer.” Further studies are needed “to fill the many gaps in our understanding regarding how these ubiquitous chemicals affect our health and that of generations to come.”

A review by Sanjay Basak and colleagues from the Indian Council of Medical Research, Hyderabad, India, and Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, University of Oslo, Norway, summarized how some plastic-related compounds, including bisphenols, phthalates, and brominated flame retardants, “can, even at low concentrations, affect the development of animal models and likely that of humans.” These chemicals could “disturb early embryonic and placental development” and could also “act through long-lasting epigenetic effects that may explain transgenerational effects.”

Two articles by Mariana Segovia-Mendoza and Helena Solleiro-Villavicencio with colleagues from the University of Mexico provide “astonishing statistics about the plastic patches covering our planet” and discuss the resulting “threat[s] to life in the oceans and to our health.” These two articles also specifically discuss how microplastics and chemicals contained therein could affect the immune and the neuroendocrine systems, respectively. Segovia-Mendoza and colleagues specifically warned that “many reports do not consider that the immune response must be studied by challenging the immune components, so there is little information about BPA [(bisphenol A, CAS 80-05-7)] effects on the immune response during disease.” This means that “immune system deficiencies caused by BPA and phthalates exposure might be missed by studying basal conditions and that BPA and phthalate effects could be worse or more widespread than we suspect.”

A review by Manelle Ramadan and colleagues from the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation, Children’s National Hospital, Washington DC, USA, addressed “the inadvertent hospital-based chemical exposures through the use of plastic medical products, which can lead to cardiovascular consequences” and emphasized that “vulnerable pediatric populations are at increased risk for chemical exposures through lines and other medical devices.” A study by Emre Atay and colleagues from the Afyonkarahisar Health Sciences University, Afyonkarahisar, Turkey, addressed BPA effects on the early development of chicken embryo and found that both the closure of the neural tube and formation of somites were disrupted by BPA exposure, resulting in a lag of the overall growth of the embryo. Further insights into the toxicology of BPA and its replacements are also provided by the many articles appearing in a special issue “Bisphenol Toxicology” published by the peer-reviewed journal Toxicology.

References

Watanabe, M., and Rogers, J. (2020). “Introduction to ‘The Trouble with Plastics’ special issue.” 112(17): 1297-1299.

Darbre, P. (2020). “Chemical components of plastics as endocrine disruptors: Overview and commentary.Birth Defects Research 112(17): 1300-1307.

Basak, S., et al. (2020). “Plastics derived endocrine-disrupting compounds and their effects on early development.Birth Defects Research 112(17): 1308-1325.

Solleiro-Villavicencio, H., et al. (2020). “The detrimental effect of microplastics on critical periods of development in the neuroendocrine system.Birth Defects Research 112(17): 1326-1340.

Segovia-Mendoza, M., et al. (2020). “How microplastic components influence the immune system and impact on children health: Focus on cancer.Birth Defects Research 112(17): 1341-1361.

Ramadan, M., et al. (2020). “Bisphenols and phthalates: Plastic chemical exposures can contribute to adverse cardiovascular health outcomes.Birth Defects Research 112(17): 1362-1385.

Atay, E., et al. (2020). “Impact of Bisphenol A on neural tube development in 48-hr chicken embyros.Birth Defects Research 112(17): 1386-1396.

Watanabe, M., and Rogers, J., editors (2020). “Special issue: The trouble with plastics.Birth Defects Research 112(17)

Willhite, C., and Daston, G., editors (2020). “Bisphenol Toxicology.Toxicology

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