On June 10, 2016 Food Standards Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ) has issued a call for stakeholder submissions on the proposal P1034 “Chemical migration from packaging into food.” The proposal was initiated by FSANZ in 2014 in order to “assess the public health and safety risk of chemicals which may migrate from packaging materials into food, and to identify and manage any risks.” Both virgin and recycled materials are covered.

As part of the evaluation procedure, FSANZ monitored the levels of 30 food packaging chemicals in the Australian population (FPF reported). Low exposure was found, and hence low safety concern was postulated for all analyzed chemicals except the two phthalates, diethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP, CAS 117-81-7) and diisononyl phthalate (DINP, CAS 28553-12-0), for which a more detailed assessment of dietary exposure is currently ongoing.

In addition, a public consultation with industry stakeholders was carried out in order to collect the information on the performance of measures already employed to control the chemical migration from packaging into food (FPF reported). The survey has shown that packaging manufacturers are generally well-informed on national and international regulations, while food manufacturers tend to rely heavily upon the safety assurance provided by their supply chain. Furthermore, the awareness on the issue of chemical migration from packaging, as well as the quality of the control measures applied, were found to be lower for small and medium enterprises compared to the packaging producers with a high market share.

The current proposal presents a range of risk management options, of which FSANZ recommends the so-called ‘graduated’ approach which addresses chemicals with different risk profiles and aims to improve the clarity of the requirements and the overall awareness.

FSANZ encourages the stakeholders to address the 20 questions posed in the evaluation document, or any other concerns, covering risk assessment and risk management of chemicals migrating from packaging into food. The deadline for submissions is August 5, 2016.

Read more

FSANZ (2016). “P1034 – Chemical migration from packaging into food.” Food Standards of Australia and New Zealand

FSANZ (2016). “Call for submissions – Proposal P1034. Chemical migration from packaging into food.” Food Standards of Australia and New Zealand, published June 10, 2016 (pdf)