In an article published on December 6, 2018, by regulatory news provider Chemical Watch, reporter Aya Kawanishi informed that “a committee under Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW) has published documents detailing a positive list system for food contact materials (FCMs).” These documents outline draft amendments to Japan’s Food Sanitation Act that regulates food contact articles such as “food utensils, containers and packaging.” Under the positive list system, companies will have to use approved substances, while currently any substance can be used “that is not excluded through a ‘negative list’” (FPF reported). The implementation of the positive list system follows a guideline published in July 2017 (FPF reported).

The positive list will “apply to synthetic resins [used in FCMs], including thermoplastic and thermosetting resins.” Once the positive list is implemented, the resins will be subject to “risk assessments on elution amounts to food and toxicity data,” and manufacturers will be expected to “provide evidence of compliance upon request.” The government further plants to “sort resins into four groups based on their properties, such as oil and water resistance, as well as usage.” For each group, a limit on the amount of additives will be set. This system is expected “to enable . . . tracking along the supply chain.”

The new rules are planned to enter into force on June 13, 2020.

Read more

Aya Kawanishi (December 6, 2018). “Japan plans FCM positive list for mid-2020.Chemical Watch

Ministry of health, Labour and Welfare (July 10, 2017). “Guideline for safety assurance in the manufacture etc. of food utensils, containers and packaging.(pdf)