Food legislation and food safety – November 2020

01 December 2020

EU: safety of styrene for use in plastic Food Contact Materials (FCMs)
EFSA has re-evaluated the safety of styrene for use in plastic FCMs following the classification by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) as ‘probably carcinogenic to humans’. Taking the human exposure data into account, the Panel concluded that a systematic review of styrene is required for assessing the safety for its use in FCMs.

FCM regulations in China
Keller and Heckman reports that the Chinese government has requested comments on three new substances for FCMs and on expanded use for three other substances. Keller and Heckman also reports that the Chinese government has published five draft National Food Safety Standards (GB standards) in relation to FCMs for public comment.

Front-of-pack nutrition labelling
The Codex Secretariat has issued a Circular Letter (800 kB) requesting comments on front-of-pack nutrition labelling.
The European Council has adopted a set of conclusions (379 kB) on the farm to fork strategy, also stating that it welcomes the fact that the EC is seeking a harmonised science-based front-of-pack nutrition labelling scheme.

Labelling issues in Europe
EU: On 23 October 2020, the Parliament rejected all proposals to reserve meat-related names for products containing meat. Nothing will change for plant-based products and the names they currently use when being sold. France: The government (in French, 530 kB) is launching a study on labelling of the environmental footprint of food. UK: The government has set out new rules and logos to protect British food and drink, guaranteeing the authenticity of regional and traditional foods.

China and the EU agree to protect each other’s food and drink specialities
The European Parliament has backed an agreement between the EU and China to protect the names of 200 European and Chinese food specialties from counterfeiting. One hundred European products bearing geographical indications (GIs) will be legally protected in China against imitations and the misuse of a product’s name. In exchange, one hundred Chinese products will benefit from the same form of protection in the EU.

In an article (1010 kB) published in Waste Management, Ghent University researchers provide an overview of the legislative requirements for the use of mechanical recycled plastics in FCMs placed on the EU market, as seen from the perspective of a plastics recycler.
On 21-23 October 2020 the Food Packaging Forum (FPF) held its 8th annual workshop under the theme “Improving the chemical safety of food contact articles: Linking policy-making with scientific research.” All of the presentations were recorded and are available and summary articles have been published.

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