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.

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