The Food Packaging Forum (FPF) has published the second episode of its video blog series titled “Unwrapping Food Packaging.” In this latest episode, Jane Muncke (FPF) discusses how chemicals are defined as ‘safe’ by many regulatory bodies through chemical risk assessments, including the concepts of hazard and exposure. She presents on why low levels of chemicals present in food packaging may not mean that they are safe levels. This includes an understanding of (i) non-monotonic dose responses where effects from a chemical are seen at lower but not at higher concentrations, (ii) mixtures of chemicals migrating together from food packaging, and (iii) the timing of exposure to a chemical (such as on pre-natal or early life phases) that can be critical, even at low concentrations.

A key message in this episode is that scientific evidence suggests that exposures to low levels of chemicals migrating from food packaging are not safe for current and future generations. Two key groups of chemicals to avoid in food packaging include endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) and known carcinogens. Consequently, a best next step would be to remove all known priority hazardous chemicals from food contact materials (FCMs). To help accomplish this, the episode introduces a new database of food contact chemicals (FCCs) systematically developed by the Food Packaging Forum as well as an identified set of 608 priority substances to keep out of FCMs (FPF reported).

The video blog series aims to introduce viewers to fundamental topics and new scientific developments within the field of food packaging and health. This includes understanding the chemical composition of food packaging, how these chemicals can transfer into food, the potential resulting health impacts, and efforts being made by stakeholders to address this to protect human and environmental health.

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Unwrapping Food Packaging (October 30, 2020). “Are low levels of chemicals in food packaging safe? Food Packaging Forum (YouTube)