Food legislation and food safety – November 2019

09 December 2019

Harmful effects of phthalates, BPB and more research news
Women exposed simultaneously to stress and phthalates late in pregnancy are at increased risk for premature birth, according to a study (571 kB) by Rutgers published in Environment International. ANSES researchers assessed the endocrine-disrupting properties of bisphenol-B (BPB) and found that BPB has endocrine properties similar to those of bisphenol-A (BPA). An article (650 kB) about the research is published in Environmental Health Perspectives. Foodwatch was in the news again. This time they found mineral oil in baby milk products. EFSA reports that the EC has launched a call to develop an EU research and innovation platform on food safety. On 24 October the Food Packaging Forum (FPF) held its 7th annual workshop under the theme “Improving the chemical safety of food contact articles: Accelerating science and innovation.” All of the presentations were recorded and are available and summary articles have been published.

Regulatory developments in FCMs
FPF reports on the International Food Contact Materials Safety Symposium that took place in October. The talks included updates on regulatory developments in the US, the EU, China and Japan. EU: FPF reports that EFSA has assessed a new plasticizer for PVC. Another FPF article looks at scientific opinions on 10 recycling processes for post-consumer PET that EFSA has published. FPF also reports that minutes from recent meetings of the EFSA working groups on BPS, BPA, FCMs, and recycling plastic are available. China: Keller and Heckman reports that the long-awaited Food Safety Law has been published and reports on a consultation on five food contact substances that closed on 12 November. UK: The government (306 kB) has rejected a committee recommendation to ban SVHCs from FCMs. US: NRDC has filed a lawsuit (185 kB) against the FDA over the denial of their petition to ban the use of perchlorate [in antistatic agents used] in food packaging. The FDA has made a scientifically validated method for testing for16 types of PFAS available and published the final results from recent surveys.

Food labelling
The EU Court of Justice (115 kB) has ruled that foodstuffs from an Israeli settlement must bear the indication of that provenance. The EC has launched a public consultation on geographical indications (GIs) and traditional specialities guaranteed (TSGs) as part of an overall evaluation of the EU quality schemes.
The US FDA has heard that more time may be needed to meet the new Nutrition Facts label requirements. Therefore, during the first 6 months following the 1 January 2020 compliance date, FDA will not focus on enforcement actions.
A recent study (9.94 MB) at the University of Connecticut finds that claims and similarities between claims on sweetened and unsweetened children’s drinks, can confuse parents about their nutritional content.

EU: Food safety measured
The EC has published its annual report (2.16 MB) on the Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF). As in previous years, only a small percentage of the notifications in 2018 related to FCMs (4%). The number of food controls and the resources allocated to them are dwindling across Europe, according to a report (1.9 MB) published by BEUC.

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