On May 16-17, 2017 the food packaging consultancy Smithers Pira hosted the Global Food Contact 2017 conference in Rome, Italy, which was attended by more than 150 participants. Invited speakers shared the views of the food, packaging, and chemical industries. Legal experts and representatives of trade associations and national authorities further contributed to the conference program.

Overviews of food contact legislations as well as recent and possible future legal updates were presented for the EU, the U.S., Canada, China, India, Japan, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), and Latin America with a special focus on the Mercosur countries. Jim Huang from The Coca Cola Company, U.S, compared the risk assessments and authorization processes in the U.S. and the EU by giving the example of the novel co-monomer “SPG” (CAS 1455-42-1) used in the production of modified polyethylene terephthalate (FPF reported). Huang showed that the regulatory processes and outcomes fundamentally differed with respect to timelines, restrictions, specifications and limitations. However, Huang concluded that possible compliance gaps being a result of the different risk assessments do not necessarily lead to safety gaps. Ningjia Zheng from Chevron Phillips Chemical Company, U.S., introduced the Chinese food contact regulation which will completely come into force on October 19, 2017 (FPF reported). Xiaolu Wang from 3E, U.S., presented developments of the legal situation in Japan. The current system is based on general mandatory safety standards and voluntary positive/negative lists by industry trade associations, but the introduction of legally binding positive lists is envisaged, with a priority on synthetic resins.

Representatives of the industry associations European Printing Inks Association (EuPIA), the Food Contacts Additives (FCA) sector group of the European Chemical Industry Council (CEFIC), the Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI), and the Association of the European Adhesive & Sealant Industry (FEICA) summarized their efforts to support manufacturers of non-harmonized FCMs to comply to article 3 of the Framework Regulation (EC) No 1935/2004. Sebastian Gierisch from EuPIA commented on the on the announced Union measure on printed FCMs and gave reference to several EuPIA guidelines (FPF reported). Miguel Arranz from FCA introduced the first edition of the FCA Guideline on risk assessment of non-listed and non-intentionally added substances (NIAS) and welcomed comments on the document. Eugenio Cavallini announced the start of a project on the risk assessment of NIAS in paper and board that was initiated by CEPI, FERA Science Ltd., UK, and Chemstamp, Italy.

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Smithers Pira (May 2017). “Global Food Contact 2017.