EU rules on food contact materials: inputs on ongoing revision

On January 11, 2023, the consultation period regarding the revision of rules within the EU on food contact materials (FCMs) ended. A total of 610 valid feedback instances have been received.  

Contributions could be given via a questionnaire, which was split into two parts: one focused on receiving input from citizen consumers and the other on all other stakeholders with some background knowledge of the regulatory field.  

The questionnaire was mainly filled out by EU citizens (45.25%), companies (25.74%), business associations (13.28%), public authorities (4.43%), and NGOs (3.44%). France was the country where most of the feedback (21%) came from, followed by Germany (17%), Hungary (12%) and Belgium (11%).  

The questionnaire asked for feedback including on the scope of products to be regulated as FCMs, the extent of future regulation, hazards that should be considered, the appropriate point of regulatory intervention, and the tools to be used for risk management.  

The Food Packaging Forum (FPF) submitted comments to the European Commission’s Directorate General for Health (DG Sante), highlithing that the scope of new FCM rules should be for “any and all materials and articles that are intentionally brought into contact with foodstuffs”, with the exception of articles regulated elsewhere (e.g. drinking water pipes). FPF also pointed out that there is a need for better informing specific FCM users about the risk of chemical migration from repurposed materials for food contact use (e.g. products that are used in creative cooking recipes).  

Moreover, FPF stressed on the need to align FCM regulation with other EU strategies and rules regarding sustainability. Furthermore, there is a great need for ensuring that recycled materials do not contain hazardous or untested chemicals. According to FPF, this essential requirement is currently not fulfilled, consequently, consumers health is at risk.  

FPF asked for the amendment of  the safety definition for virgin FCMs, writing that “any and all chemicals used in FCMs, or present in finished food contact articles as non-intentionally added substances(NIAS) or incidental contaminants (in recycled materials), need to be tested for their hazard properties.” According to FPF, at least 388 intentionally used chemicals in FCMs have hazard properties of most concern, and should therefore not be allowed for use in FCM manufacture.  

The full details of the consultation’s outcome have yet to be published, however, it is possible to track further progress of this initiative by subscribing to receive notifications.    

According to the consultation website, the EC’s adoption of the revised FCM regulation is currently scheduled for the second quarter of 2023.