Food legislation and food safety – October 2020

02 November 2020

China: FPF reports that a consultation (in Chinese) has been launched on 16 food safety standards, including a revised draft standard on metals used in FCMs. EU: During the September meeting of the Agriculture and Fisheries Council, the Czech Republic and Italy presented a set of desired principles (534 kB) related to the front-of-pack nutritional labelling. UK: Smithers has published an article on post-Brexit FCM legislation. US: Keller and Heckman reports that the FDA recently added seven new substances to its Inventory of Effective Food Contact Substances (FCS) Notifications. The FDA has also proposed a new rule that lays the foundation for end-to-end food traceability across the food industry. The FDA has heard that smaller food manufacturers may need more time to meet the new Nutrition Facts label requirements. Therefore, although the compliance date (1 January 2021) will remain in place, the FDA will not focus on enforcement actions during 2021 for these companies.

EU: Food safety measured
The EC has published its 2019 annual report (2.88 MB) on the Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF). As in previous years, only a small percentage of the notifications is related to FCMs (4.5%).

Hazardous chemicals in food packaging
A new UN report (28.86 MB), coordinated by SCP/RAC shines a light on extensive evidence of toxic chemical components in plastic products like food packaging that can harm human and environmental health and impede a safe circular economy.
The Health and Environment Alliance HEAL has published the report (672 MB) ‘Turning the plastic tide’ on how chemicals in plastic are putting our health at risk.
FPF reports that the Federation of German Consumer Organizations VZBV (in German) has published a position paper (in German, 767 kB) on better protecting consumers from hazardous chemicals in food packaging and other FCMs. A English summary (271 kB) of the position paper is also available.

Chemical composition and toxicity of bioplastic and plant-based FCMs
The PlastX research group, including researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, examined the chemical composition and toxicity of bioplastic and plant-based FCMs. They found that three-quarters of the products contained harmful chemicals making them no safer than their conventional plastic alternatives. An article (1.42 MB) about the research is published in Environment International.

Effects of phthalate alternative DINCH on humans
DINCH is used in commercial products such as food packaging as an alternative for phthalates. However, less is known about the effects of DINCH on humans. NIST research, published in Chemosphere (598 kB), examines DINCH levels in women to help understand its effects.

PFAS in food packaging
FPF reports that researchers from the University of Iowa have published an article (abstract) in Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management investigating the concentrations of non-intentionally added PFCAs in recycled paper packaging materials. PFCAs are members of the larger class of PFAS. A recent OECD report (2.6 MB) investigated non-fluorinated PFAS alternatives for food packaging and found that such products are widely available and effective.

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