Food legislation and food safety – January 2024

31 January 2024

Food Contact Materials (FCMs) – rules and regulations
The Understanding Packaging (UP) Scorecard for evaluating the environmental and health impacts of food packaging has been updated. China: Keller and Heckman reports that the NHC has published a draft amendment of Coatings Standard GB 4806.10. The draft proposes a new definition that covers coatings and coating layers that may directly or indirectly contact food. Paper is no longer excluded. Keller and Heckman also reports that the government has approved expanded usage for two FCMs, a new additive and a new resin and is soliciting comments on two new resins and two new additives. India: The government has approved reservation norms for the Jute Year 2023-24 making it mandatory to package all food grains and 20% of sugar in jute bags. Japan: Keller and Heckman reports that the government has published the final version of the Positive List of substances allowed for FCMs. US: The FDA has added three new entries and six other new entries to its Inventory of Effective Food Contact Substances (FCS) Notifications, Keller and Heckman reports.

Claims, marking and labelling
EU: The European Parliament has adopted its position on the revision of the so called “Breakfast Directives", a set of Directives that lay down common rules on the composition, sales name, labelling and presentation of certain foodstuffs. A study (1.66 MB) by JRC concludes that providing food information via QR codes rather than on paper labels has a negative impact on consumers.
NL: The government (in Dutch) reports that Nutri-Score (in Dutch) is officially the Netherlands' food choice logo from 1 January 2024. Manufacturers can choose whether they put the logo on their products. If they choose to do so, they must put the Nutri-Score on every product of their brand. The Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority NVWA (in Dutch) has scrutinised 54 products advertised with a protein claim. The results (in Dutch) show that almost half of the products do not comply with the rules on nutrition and health claims.
UK: FSA reports that from 1 January 2024 (extended from 1 October 2022), food products sold in GB must include a UK, Channel Islands or Isle of Man address for the food business.
US: The FDA has added new tools and FAQs to inform stakeholders about the Food Traceability Rule. The compliance date is 20 January 2026.

Research on FCMs
Columbia University researchers have found that bottled water can contain hundreds of thousands nanoplastics. They found that on average, a litre contained some 240,000 detectable plastic fragments—10 to 100 times greater than previous estimates, which were based mainly on larger sizes. The study (2.1 MB) is published in PNAS.
FPF reports on two studies assessing antimony presence and migration from PET bottles sold in Brazil and Turkey. Antimony was found in almost all samples, however the levels were below the Tolerable Daily Intake (TDI).
FPF also reports on Aarhus University research on the presence and migration of PET oligomers from trays containing industrially recycled PET and produced by two different extrusion processes. They found that the migration increases with the amount of recycled content. The study (4.42 MB) is published in Food Packaging and Shelf Life.
BfR researchers have performed a risk assessment (1.05 MB) of the tolerable daily intake of Bisphenol A (BPA). In another study (977 kB), University of Bologna researchers address health concerns about the dietary exposure to BPA due to the consumption of soft drinks. Both studies are published in the EFSA Journal.
Consumer Reports tested nearly 100 foods in the US and found that bisphenols and phthalates remain widespread in food.

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