Food legislation and food safety – October 2019

01 November 2019

Plastic teabags release microplastic and nanoplastic
Researchers at McGill University found that a single plastic teabag at brewing temperature released about 11.6 billion microplastic and 3.1 billion nanoplastic particles into the water. An article (abstract) about the research was published in Environmental Science & Technology.

CHEM Trust has published a new briefing (2.14 MB) highlighting the threats posed to human health and the environment by PFAS (per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances), also known as the ‘forever chemicals’. Researchers from the Silent Spring Institute have found that people who eat more home meals have lower levels of harmful PFAS chemicals in their bodies. The study (194 kB), published in Environmental Health Perspectives, suggests that fast food and food from other restaurants is more likely to be contaminated with PFAS, which may be due to greater contact with PFAS-containing food packaging. A new study (324 kB) by the Chinese Academy of Sciences has raised safety concerns over PFO4DA, a substance increasingly used as a substitute for PFOA, a harmful persistent organic pollutant (POP), in plastic production. PFO4DA was found to cause liver damage to mice in lab tests, and is also an environmental pollutant. SGS reports that Denmark has completed a consultation on its draft Ordinance (in Danish, 117 kB) prohibiting PFAS in paper and paperboard FCMs. The provisions are to become effective on 1 July 2020.

Biobased and paper-based FCMs
FPF reports that the BfR has published a position statement (in German, 520 kB) regarding potential health risks posed by printed paper-based FCMs. BfR measured the migration of four chemicals associated with azo dyes.
The UK FSA has published a report (1.85 MB) that reviews the safety of bio-based FCMs.

Food safety: transport and storage
Transport and storage are inextricable elements of food safety management. ISO has recently published ISO/TS 22002-5 to help ensure safety at every stop along the food chain.

Food labelling
The German government has announced (in German) the introduction of the Nutri-Score®. The choice was preceded by consumer research on behalf of the ministry. Obesity-related diseases will claim more than 90 million lives in OECD countries in the next 30 years, with life expectancy reduced by nearly 3 years, according to a new OECD report. The report, that you can read online, says that investing in initiatives like better labelling of food in shops or regulating the advertising of unhealthy foods to children can generate major savings. Every dollar invested in preventing obesity would generate an economic return of up to six dollars.

On 20 September 2019, the EU General Court issued a judgment in case T-636/17 dismissing in its entirety an action brought against ECHA’s decision to include bisphenol A (BPA) in the Candidate List on the basis that it is a substance of a very high concern (SVHC) having endocrine disrupting properties for human health. FPF reports that the Institut Hospital del Mar d’Investigacions Médiques (IMIM) has published a technical report (in Catalan, 682 kB) investigating the concentration of different substances related to plastic exposure in urine samples. The analysis looked for 15 phthalates and 12 phenols, and it found that all phthalates were detectable in each study participant.


NVC members receive this information with all the relevant links in the monthly NVC Members-only Update. If you have any questions, please contact us:, +31-(0)182-512411.