In an article published on November 7, 2017 by the UK-based advocacy group for chemical safety CHEM Trust, Michael Warhurst illustrated “the secrecy with which the European Commission works” in the area of food contact materials (FCMs). Two expert groups established by the European Commission’s (EC) Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety (DG SANTE) discuss and agree on regulations regarding chemicals in FCMs: The “Working Group on food contact materials of the toxicological safety section of the Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed (SC-PAFF)” (FPF reported) and the “Technical expert group for Food Contact Materials” (FPF reported). Stakeholders (e.g. industry or civil society) are not allowed to access the meetings of the former group, Warhurst explained. The latter group is only open to “European associations representing food contact material manufacturers and/or their supply chain,“ DG SANTE has defined. This means that “environmental and consumer groups are not allowed any access to this – or any other – formal stakeholder process,” Warhurst highlighted.
Warhurst further noted that the industry-only technical expert group was established in 2015 and that the Food Packaging Forum (FPF) was allowed to participate in the previous stakeholder group until May 2015 (FPF reported). The membership criteria were then changed by DG SANTE to “experts from industry trade associations only.“ In a letter sent to Xavier Prats Monné, Director-General of DG SANTE, on October 16, 2017, the non-profit organizations Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL), ClientEarth, and CHEM Trust requested more openness in the regulatory process for FCMs and, in particular, increased opportunity for involvement of public interest groups. Further, the organizations urged DG SANTE to address endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) in current and future FCM regulations.
Michael Warhurst (November 7, 2017). “The secretive (and ineffective) world of EU rules controlling chemicals used in food packaging.” CHEM Trust
Chemical Watch (November 9, 2017). “NGO decries ‘secret’ EU Commission work on FCMs.“