In an article published on May 16, 2019 by regulatory news provider Chemical Watch, reporter Luke Buxton summarized the responses to the public consultation held by the European Commission (EC) to evaluate the EU’s food contact materials (FCM) legislation (FPF reported). The consultation closed on May 6, 2019.

The Swedish Chemicals Agency (KEMI) stated that “any substance restricted or phased out under various EU legislation should face the same measures in all types of food contact materials” and urged a review of substances currently authorized for use in food contact plastics “concerning their identification as SVHCs under REACH” (FPF reported). The agency further said that the use of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) in “any type of FCM” is “indefensible” (FPF reported). It also pointed to the “lack of specific management of endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) in the legislation” and called for “identical management” of EDCs in all pieces of EU legislation (FPF reported).

In line with KEMI’s comments, European consumer organization BEUC also said that “substances of high concern, such as EDCs, should be ‘automatically prohibited, unless industry can demonstrate that their presence in FCMs does not present a risk to human health’” (FPF reported). The science communication and research organization Food Packaging Forum informed that some large food producers have issued voluntary guidelines on chemicals to be avoided in food packaging (FPF reported). The EC should “proactively address” these developments, and the substances of concern could be prioritized for reassessment based on hazard properties (FPF reported).

Another common theme raised by many stakeholders, including Cefic and the Packaging Ink Joint Industry Task Force (PIJITF), was the lack of harmonized measures for most FCM types in the EU (FPF reported). The non-governmental organization CHEM Trust called on the next cabinet to make the revision of the EU FCM regulation a priority issue and proposed five key principles on which the reworked FCM legislation should be based (FPF reported).

Buxton informed that the “draft final report on the evaluation is expected in the summer” 2019. A second stakeholder workshop is planned for September 2019, and “the final report is slated to be ready in October” 2019.

Read more

Luke Buxton (May 16, 2019). “Review urged on presence of SVHCs in EU FCMs.Chemical Watch

KEMI (May 2, 2019). “Response to European Commission’s consultation on the Evaluation of Food Contact Materials (FCM) legislation.(pdf)

BEUC (May 2019). “Reform EU food packaging rules to better protect consumers. BEUC comments to the Food Contact Materials REFIT evaluation.(pdf)

FPF (May 2019). “Position paper by Food Packaging Forum on the European food contact regulation.(pdf)

Cefic (May 2019). “FCA additional comments to Commission public consultation on the evaluation of FCM legislation.” (pdf)

Packaging Ink Joint Industry Task Force (May 2019). “Position of the Packaging Ink Joint Industry Task Force (PIJITF) on the planned EU Measure on Printed Food Contact Materials (‘pFCM measure’).(pdf)

HEAL (May 23, 2019). “How the chemicals in food contact materials are putting our health at risk.