Food legislation and food safety – May 2021

01 June 2021

Food safety and food contact materials (FCMs) – rules and regulations
EU: EFSA has published four new reports providing a vast amount of technical information and best practice advice to help shape a future EU-wide food safety ‘General Plan for Risk Communication’. China: Keller and Heckman reports that the government is requesting comments on five FCMs. Tanzania: FPF reports that draft standards (677 kB) proposing limits for heavy metals and total aromatic amines in FCMs have been published. Additionally, a positive list (1.11 MB) for colourants and dyes allowed for use in plastic FCMs has been notified (75 kB) to the WTO. Both standards are set to be adopted by July 2021 and become effective in January 2022. Thailand: FPF reports that draft regulations (in Thai, 5.02 MB) for chemicals in paper FCMs have been published. US: Keller and Heckman reports that the FDA has added 8 entries to its Inventory of Effective Food Contact Substances (FCS) Notifications. NRDC reports that the California Assembly has passed Assembly Bill 1200 banning the use of PFAS in food-packaging made from plant-derived fibres.

Labelling developments in the EU and the US
EU: EFSA has published a new guidance document to help food suppliers decide what information to give consumers about storing food and time limits for consumption.
In a briefing (808 kB) the European Parliament calls on the EC to consider a health warning and calorie content on alcoholic beverage labels.
Germany has asked (103 kB) the EC to investigate the options for an EU-wide requirement to indicate the type of housing for laying hens on processed foodstuffs containing egg as an ingredient.
US: As part of the Nutrition Innovation Strategy (NIS), the FDA has issued a procedural notice on preliminary consumer research on the use of symbols on food product labels. The final symbol could later be used to convey the nutrient content claim ‘healthy.’
FARE reports that President Biden has signed into law the Food Allergy Safety, Treatment, Education and Research (FASTER) Act of 2021 requiring sesame to be labelled on packaged foods as of 1 January 2023 and that food allergy research be given greater priority by the federal government.

Environment Health News reports that researchers at University of Florida's College of Veterinary Medicine tested 38 biodegradable straw brands purchased from Amazon, and found 21 different PFAS chemicals. Thirty-six of the brands had detectable PFAS. An article (abstract) about the research is published in Chemosphere.
FPF reports that US FDA researchers have performed a review of the literature on the migration of substances from packaging materials into dry foods. An article (abstract) about the research is published in Food Additives & Contaminants: Part A. Researchers at Aarhus University have developed a simple and fast method for the simultaneous determination of 75 plastic FCMs in liquid food simulants, at levels of a few nanogrammes/gm. An article (705 kB) about the research is published in Food Chemistry.
In an article (3.88 MB) published in the Journal of Stored Products Research, scientists at the West Pomeranian University of Technology study the presence of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in food products packaged in plastic. They found that the amount of PAHs in oils and water can be effectively reduced by PET, HDPE, and LDPE type packaging. The most efficient turned out to be the LDPE packaging.

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