Food legislation and food safety – February 2022

28 February 2022

Food Contact Materials (FCMs) – rules and regulations
EU: ECHA reports that the Committees for Risk Assessment and Socio-Economic Analysis support Germany’s proposal to restrict the use of PFHxA and related substances. The potential restriction is expected to reduce exposure to this subgroup of PFAS resulting mainly from uses in FCMs, textiles and fire-fighting foams. France: A recent law proposal (in French) includes a restriction of food packaging that contains PFAS as of 1 January 2024. NL: The government (in Dutch) is working on banning PFAS in food packaging as of 1 April 2022. In a letter (in Dutch) to the Dutch House, the State Secretary reports that the draft regulations have been sent to the EC. US: FPF reports that the FDA has added fifteen entries to its Inventory of Effective Food Contact Substances (FCS) Notifications. FPF also reports that the state of Maine has published its final list (301 kB) of food contact chemicals of high concern and has postponed (249 kB) the PFAS ban in FCMs. Two new bills SB 273 (161 kB) and HB 275 (162 kB), introduced in Maryland would prohibit food packaging that contains intentionally added PFAS. Bill S 2044 introduced in Rhode Island will do the same. A number of NGOs including EDF, has submitted a petition (1.08 MB) asking the FDA to withdraw its approvals for BPA in adhesives and coatings and to set strict limits on its use in plastic FCMs. In a letter (282 kB) to the FDA, the House Oversight and Reform Committee requests information on the regulation of phthalates.

Marking and labelling
Australia: Currently there is no single recognised standard for the use of ‘organic’ in labelling a product. The government is now working on adapting the regulations.
NL: The government (in Dutch) reports that Nutri-Score will be introduced in the first half of 2022.
In a study (1.11 MB) published in PLOS Medicine, UNC researchers examine in a realistic setting whether pictorial health warnings on sugary drinks influence which beverages parents buy for their children. They found that the warnings led to a 17% reduction in purchase of sugary drinks.

Testing food packaging
A proposed ASTM standard ASTM WK66122 will help determine the antimicrobial properties found in materials used for the production of food packaging, personal care products, and other items. There are multiple points at which metals, including heavy metals, can be introduced into FCMs. An Intertek whitepaper describes the potential origin of metallic substances, the regulatory context and analytical strategies to monitor and quantify levels of these substances as potential migration substances. You can download the whitepaper after filling in your details. In an article (2.16 MB) published in Resources, Conservation and Recycling, Aarhus University researchers give an overview of chemical testing of rPET for food packaging in the EU. In a recent article, FPF reports on several studies determining chemical migration from food packaging.

Effects of chemicals in plastic FCMs packaging on human health
Bisphenol S (BPS) and bisphenol F (BPF), replacement chemicals for BPA, may increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, according to a Jinan University study (1 MB) published in Environmental Sciences Europe.
NTNU researchers have found that chemicals in plastic food packaging may contribute to weight gain. An article (3.3 MB) about the research is published in Environmental Science and Technology.

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