The Food Standards Agency of the UK has published a report it commissioned that reviews the safety of bio-based food contact materials (FCMs). The agency announced the publication in a press release on September 19, 2019. Completed by testing consultancy Fera, the report analyzed materials already marketed for food contact by reviewing published scientific literature as well as grey literature from government, non-profit, academic, and industry reports. The report also investigated information regarding the presence and migration of a set of chemical contaminants (both intentionally and non-intentionally added substances), microorganisms, allergens, and nanomaterials in bio-based materials.

Findings include that bio-based materials can provide “barrier properties similar to traditional oil-based plastics, enabling comparable shelf life performance and consumer protection.” However, the authors also identified that “limited research has been undertaken into the development of BBFCMs [(bio-based food contact materials)] derived from agri-food by-products and understanding the associated risks to the consumer.” This includes the presence and transfer of heavy metals, persistent organic pollutants, natural toxins, and allergens. Current analytical and risk assessment methods “are expected to be appropriate for or adaptable to” bio-based materials, but the authors suggest that the materials within the supply chain could potentially be monitored to enable evaluation of potential risks.

Read More

UK Food Standards Agency (September 19, 2019). “Review of bio-based food contact materials published.”

UK Food Standards Agency (September 19, 2019). “Bio-Based Materials for Use in Food Contact Applications.”

Clelia Oziel (October 3, 2019). “Risks from bio-based FCMs need monitoring – UK research.” Chemical Watch


Fera (June 2019). “Bio-Based Materials For Use In Food Contact Applications.” (pdf)