≡ Menu

Chemicals in food contact materials: notes from a workshop on regulatory gaps

There’s increasing debate on the problems with the laws covering chemicals in food contact materials such as packaging, with the European Parliament currently discussing a report on the issue. On 10th March 2016 CHEM Trust organised a workshop in Brussels to discuss one important aspect, the overlap and gaps between the main chemicals regulation REACH and the laws on chemicals in food contact materials.

The intention of the workshop was to explore the issues among a wide group of experts, from the European Commission (both DG Environment and DG Health), Academia, Civil Society Groups and Industry – there’s a full list of attendees at the end of the notes (below).

At the start of the workshop presentations on REACH and on the Food Contact Materials legislation were given. Discussion areas included:

  • Non harmonised materials (e.g. paper and card), how could REACH and Food Contact Materials legislation work together to find a solution?
  • Interaction between REACH and Food Contact Materials controls: Restriction, Authorisation/Prohibition and Union Lists.
  • Dealing with Non Intentionally Added Substances (NIAS)

The workshop was under Chatham House rules, so the statements in the notes are not attributed to anyone. In addition, the notes are purely a collection of points made; there is no implication that these points are supported by all or even most of those present. The notes should not be used as a reference document, but as the notes of a discussion; some of the statements may be disputed or incomplete.

The meeting notes are available here, but please keep in mind the qualifications in the previous paragraph.

Dr Michael Warhurst, Executive Director of CHEM Trust, said:

“The feedback from the attendees was that they found it a very useful workshop, a chance for discussions between people who are not usually together in the same room. We hope that the discussions themselves, and the notes that we have produced, prove useful in the ongoing discussions aimed at improving the regulatory system for chemicals in food contact materials”