Food legislation and food safety - August 2019

05 September 2019

In June the UNWRAPPED Conference on chemicals in food packaging took place. Recordings of the presentations are available online. The General Court of the EU (110 kB) has confirmed the inclusion of Bisphenol A (BPA) as a substance of very high concern (SVHC) on account of its properties as a substance toxic for reproduction. Meanwhile an Endocrine Society study finds that replacement chemicals for BPA (BPS and BPF) are not safe for consumers either. An article (346 kB) is published in the Journal of the Endocrine Society.
According to an SGS article, composite materials containing bamboo powder and melamine are facing strong headwinds. Several issues, including migration of formaldehyde and melamine, misleading advertising and use of potentially non-authorized additives have caught the attention. Volume 119 of the IARC Monographs provides evaluations of the carcinogenicity of melamine and Stiftung Warentest (in German) found excessive migration for more than half of the 12 bamboo cups they tested. A discussion document (80 kB) from the EU FCM working group was also recently published.
In a press release published on 25 July BEUC launched a study (summary, 200kB) showing that food packaging made of coloured paper and board – such as coffee cups and straws – may contain and release chemicals originating from the inks used for printing.
A literature review (991 kB) by the RIVM shows that the amount of mineral oils (MOSH and MOAH) in food has decreased in recent decades.

Dual food quality and food fraud
The European Commission has released a study (1.25 MB) on dual food quality. The study finds that 9% of the compared products differed in composition, although the front-of-pack was identical. 22% of products with a different composition had a similar front-of-pack.
More than €100 million worth of potentially dangerous food and drinks was seized in the Europol/INTERPOL OPSON VIII operation (3.9 MB). For the first time, a targeted action led by the EC was run to detect fraudulent practices in organic food products. The illicit practices uncovered include use of unauthorized substances, diversion of conventionally produced food to the organic market and use of falsified documents to blur the traceability.

Around the world
Global: FSSC 22000 has published Scheme Version 5. EU: EFSA has performed a safety assessment of the substance, titanium dioxide surface treated with fluoride‐modified alumina, for use in FCM. NL: The NVWA (in Dutch) has published a new version of information sheet 85 (in Dutch) on microbiological criteria. The NVWA has also recently published a Handbook on additives for food manufacturers (in Dutch), which includes a chapter on labelling. A recent report (summary, 159 kB) from the Dutch Safety Board shows that the food safety system is vulnerable. UK: The government has introduced a new law requiring full ingredients labelling on pre-packaged foods. The law, known as ‘Natasha’s Law’, follows the tragic death of Natasha Ednan-Laperouse after suffering an allergic reaction to a Pret a Manger baguette. Researchers at the University of Stirling found that half of young drinkers are unaware of health messages on alcohol packaging. An article (197 kB) is published in the Journal of Public Health. US: The FDA has issued a final guidance on the labelling of added sugars. SGS reports that the Governor of Maine has signed a law (114 kB) to ban phthalates and possibly PFAS in food packaging.

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