An article published on October 24, 2015 by the Danish news provider Politiken informs about chemicals of concern (COCs) such as polyfluorinated compounds, bisphenol A (BPA, CAS 80-05-7), ink residues and mineral oils found in food packaging made from recycled paper and board. These COCs can migrate from the packaging into the food and ultimately be ingested by the consumer, according to Xenia Trier from the National Food Institute at the Technical University of Denmark (DTU Food). Ms. Trier is part of a research team investigating chemical cocktails in paper and board food packaging made from recycled materials. The researchers were surprised to find many endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) in the investigated packaging, Ms. Trier stated. Jane Muncke of the Food Packaging Forum points out the paradox of the situation: For ecological reasons, a circular economy with recycled products is desirable. However for health reasons, the recycling of materials containing harmful chemicals needs to be avoided. In contrast to plastics, clear EU-wide regulation is lacking for paper and board food packaging. Food and food packaging manufacturers have to rely on their own testing guidelines to ensure their packaging is safe. Retailer Coop Danmark is currently looking for recycled board packaging that is safe for food contact. Until they can successfully identify a reliable supplier, and until EU-wide guidelines are in place, Coop Danmark is only using virgin paper and board for direct food contact. The Danish food safety authority, DTU Food and the Danish food industry are pushing for EU-wide regulation of paper and board food packaging.
Politiken (October 24, 2015). “Genbrugspap er godt for miljøet og skidt for sundheden.” (in Danish)
Food Packaging Forum (October 10, 2012). Paper and Board.