On October 24, 2019, the Food Packaging Forum (FPF) held its 7th annual workshop in Zurich, Switzerland, under the theme “Improving the chemical safety of food contact articles: Accelerating science and innovation.” The event provided a platform for exchanging views on the chemical safety of food contact materials (FCMs) and articles (FCAs) and sharing recent scientific findings and challenges, with a specific focus on innovation. Participants joined both in person and online via a live, interactive webinar. They represented the food, chemical, and packaging industries, as well as trade associations, retailers, environmental, health and consumer organizations, testing laboratories, academia, government authorities, and consultancies.

The morning session began with a presentation summarizing the Food Packaging Forum’s work within the past year, which included the organization of a translational science conference, completion of a project on hazardous chemicals in plastic packaging, and initiation of a project on health effects of food contact chemicals (FPF reported). The session continued with a talk on the phenomenon of non-monotonicity and the challenge it poses to regulators (FPF reported). Two presentations during the morning session focused on FCM regulations within the EU, providing a critical review of EU FCM regulation and recommendations for improvement (FPF reported) and an overview of inspection and control of FCMs by the Danish authorities (FPF reported). In the final talk of the morning, the focus shifted onto the issue of bias in scientific studies and the uncanny strategy of using uncertainty to delay regulatory action (FPF reported).

The afternoon session opened with a presentation that reviewed the links between food packaging, health, and the environment and provided an overview of the drivers of global plastic pollution (FPF reported). It continued with a set of podium presentations under the theme “Innovations for improving the safety of food contact articles.” Five speakers with different backgrounds addressed the topics of convergent innovation, sustainability hacking for increasing sustainable investments, leadership in the U.S. on food contact chemicals, a new repository for non-listed and non-intentionally added substances in plastics, and the use of new business models. The speakers then answered questions from the audience and shared further insights during a joint podium discussion.

The video recordings and presentation slides from all presentations given during the workshop are now freely available online. Next year’s workshop will take place on October 1, 2020, in Zurich, Switzerland. A live webinar of the event will also be provided to allow participants to join and contribute remotely.