The plastic and paper food contact industry met on December 2-4, 2015 in Barcelona, Spain at Smithers Pira’s annually held “Plastics and paper in contact with foodstuffs 2015” conference. Various speakers, including from food contact materials (FCM) manufacturers, food industry, and their supply chain touched on different pertinent topics.

Upcoming regulatory changes with relevance to plastic FCMs were highlighted for Europe, the U.S., China, and Australia by different speakers (see program). New standards are being drafted for most FCMs in China, with expected publication in 2016. The ongoing updates are part of a complete overhaul of the Chinese FCM regulations; standards for glass and ceramics have already been finalized and new principles for migration testing for plastics are expected in early 2016. In the U.S., the Food Safety Modernization Act’s (FSMA) Foreign Supplier Verification Requirement (FSVP) will also apply to FCMs (FPF reported). Regulatory changes are also underway in Europe for coatings: A new regulation will be published in Belgium by the beginning of 2016, and the Netherlands are currently updating existing regulations. In September 2016, biocides used in FCMs will require specific authorization according to the Biocidal Products Regulation (EU 528/2012). However it is currently unclear, how approval for such substances has to be obtained.

The Australian legislation on food contact materials does not specify individual FCMs and their production and conditions of use. Food Standard 1.4.3 is currently under review. The aim is to establish an unambiguous regulation, because non-specific regulations may lead to “subjective compliance.”

Further topics receiving increased interest were non-intentionally added substances (NIAS) and plastics recycling (FPF reported).

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Smithers Pira (2015). “Plastics and paper in contact with foodstuffs 2015.