On December 6, 2017, non-harmonized food contact materials (FCMs) and recycling of plastic FCMs were highlighted in two sessions of the Smithers Pira conference on “Plastics and paper in contact with foodstuffs.” The conference took place on December 5-7, 2017 in Berlin, Germany.

Matthias Henker, chairman of the EuPIA technical committee “printing inks for food packaging,” and Jochen Ballach, chairman of the EuPIA analytical experts working group, presented the ongoing work of the European Printing Inks Association (EuPIA). Henker informed about EuPIA’s exclusion policy for printing inks and related products and the EuPIA guidance for risk assessment of non-intentionally added substances (NIAS) and non-listed substances in printing inks for food contact materials (FCMs) (FPF reported). He further explained possible ways to assess the exposure to a certain chemical. It could be either done by (i) worst-case calculations, modeling or testing based on a defined packaging size of 1 dm3 (the “EU cube”), (ii) referring to EFSA’s food consumption database, or (iii) using the exposure tool FACET. Ballach introduced the EuPIA guidance on migration test methods for the evaluation of substances in printing inks and varnishes for FCMs. He suggested to consider this guidance during the discussion on a new EU legislation on printed FCMs.

Christoph Wöss, business development manager at Erema Group, Austria, provided some background information about polyethylene terephthalate (PET) recycling and introduced the company’s recycling technology. While 66% of the collected PET bottles are recycled into fiber, only 10% are used for food-grade bottle-to-bottle recycling. The technology was invented in the mid-90s and has been continuously developed further. It has obtained various approvals by global authorities (e.g. no-objection letters by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration). In the EU, several scientific opinions have been published by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), but the processes have not been authorized by the European Commission (EC) so far (FPF reported). Martin Policar, advocacy and regulatory affairs manager at European Plastics Converters (EPC), Belgium, explained how recycling systems shall be controlled by authorities once they have been authorized by the EC. Official controls shall take place in the form of audits, but at the moment auditors still need to be trained. Subjects to control shall include safety-relevant issues such as the traceability of the input material, process parameters, and its compliance with the Plastics Regulation (EU) No 10/2011.

Read more:

Smithers Pira (2017). “Plastics & paper in contact with foodstuffs.