EU Health Commissioner confirms stakeholder concerns with food contact laws


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Last week, CHEM Trust received a reply from the European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Stella Kyriakides, in response to a letter that we sent a few days after the new EU Commission started its five-year term in December 2019.

Her letter gives a clear indication that the Commission is aware of the need for improvements to the EU’s laws regulating the use of chemicals in food contact materials (FCM), such as packaging and factory equipment:

Whilst it is still too early to conclude on the results of the evaluation, it is clear that many stakeholders have concerns, particularly regarding the lack of specific rules in areas other than plastic FCMs and the need to ensure prioritisation and coherence with other legislation as regards the regulation of substances migrating FCMs at EU level.

Preliminary evaluation results also demonstrates issues with the current approach to regulating plastic FCMs as well as gaps in information flow and compliance in the supply chain and enforcement of the rules by Member States…

I am very keen to ensure that we take action where necessary in order the maximise the protection of human health…I consider the area of FCMs extremely important in this respect. Based on the available science, I will ensure we move ahead with prioritisation  of substances that we know are potentially more harmful to human health, including where relevant endocrine disrupters…

…we will also ensure that any actions envisaged support key initiatives under the Green Deal such as Farm to Fork strategy or circular economy action plan

The letter reveals no information about when the Commission will publish the results of last years’ evaluation of the EU FCM laws or what concrete steps the Commission will propose. The Commissions’ recently released work plan for 2020 includes the FCM evaluation in Annex 2.

CHEM Trust Executive Director Michael Warhurst said:

CHEM Trust welcomes the recognition from the Commissioner that many stakeholders have concerns about the EU’s laws on chemicals in Food Contact Materials.

We have been making the case for reform for over five years, and would encourage the Commission to rapidly move to reform these outdated laws, based on the five key principles that we and other civil society groups have developed.

We call on the Commission to set out an inclusive process with broad stakeholder participation for the coming policy discussion on this issue.

(*) The “Five key principles for future EU regulation of chemicals in food contact materials” are explained here.
(*) See our page on chemicals in food contact materials for more information about this issue.
(*) This letter has been reported on by Food Packaging Forum.

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