Can we safely use recycled plastic as food contact material?12 Nov 2015
At the NVC Netherlands Packaging Centre we receive questions about food contact materials legislation on a regular basis. The European Union laws in this field are extensive but in general reasonably clear.
For most regulations the European Commission has published guidance documents to help explain the interpretation of the legislation. However, a more obscure member of the EU food contact law family is Regulation EC 282/2008 on recycled plastic materials and articles intended to come into contact with foods. It sets requirements for recycled plastics to be used in food contact materials, and introduces an authorisation procedure of recycling processes used in manufacturing recycled plastics for food contact use.
Legislation that is not all that clear, is often a source of the most interesting questions. For Regulation EC 282/2008 the European Commission published a Q&A document (6 December 2010) to answer some of the most important questions. This does clarify several issues, but it still leaves a lot of questions unanswered. For some reason it appears we are still in the initial authorisation phase – the European Commission hasn’t published any Decisions on the authorisation of specific recycling processes yet, and it even might be the case that EFSA hasn’t published their opinions on all the recycling processes that were registered before 31 December 2009. In the Q&A document it states: “This phase will end — probably in 2014 — when the Commission has adopted a decision on the authorisation for each of the recycling processes for which a valid application was submitted up to 31 December 2009. Before the Commission adopts the decisions on these processes, the EFSA has to issue an opinion on each of them.” The European Commission has been quiet about this process since the beginning of 2014 (which was the 15th update of the register of valid applications for authorisation of recycling processes). So when will this work finally be finished? When will Regulation EC 282/2008 apply in full? We should be getting close by now.
Many people think the processes, EFSA has published an opinion about, are now authorised processes, but this is not the case. EFSA does not authorise the processes, this will be done by the European Commission at the end of the initial authorisation phase. EFSA simply assesses them. They determine whether or not a particular recycling process complies with the safety criteria laid down in the EU legislation. Until the initial authorisation phase ends, the use of the EFSA opinions about these recycling processes is very limited. They may help to support a claim that the use of a recycled plastic material is safe according to framework regulation 1935/2004 on materials and articles intended to come into contact with food, but as long as the initial authorisation phase is not finished, national legislation still applies.
So are we allowed to use recycled plastic for food contact materials? Yes, but it is important you do your homework very well! To help you do your homework, the NVC Netherlands Packaging Centre helps members to answer questions, and provides education in this field: the NVC E-Workshop Food Contact Materials Legislation (online).
Stevia outpaces aspartame in new product launches
27 Nov 2018
The number of new stevia-sweetened foods and drinks overtook new products with aspartame in 2017, according to global data from Innova Market Insights.Read more
Nuts gain from awareness of healthy fats
19 Nov 2018
Demand for products containing nuts is on the rise, aided by ongoing research into their health benefits and growing consumer understanding of healthy fats.Read more
Cranberries show promise for improved gut health
19 Nov 2018
Researchers are just beginning to understand the link between the gut and many chronic health conditions, leading to growing interest in prebiotic ingredients. According to a new study, cranberries are the latest food to show prebiotic potential.Read more
Egg substitutes driven by vegan, allergen-free demand
13 Nov 2018
Egg replacers have long been used as a way to avoid to the price fluctuations often associated with real eggs, but recently interest has been driven by manufacturer demand for clean label and plant-based ingredients, allowing companies to make more veg...Read more
Whey protein on the rise across food categories
13 Nov 2018
Whey protein remains the most popular protein ingredient for athletes by far, but numerous whey protein ingredients have emerged over the past few years, in applications that take it well beyond sports nutrition.Read more
Could regulation tempt the industry to renew focus on low fat foods?
7 Nov 2018
The UK government aims to cut calories by 20% by 2024 in a range of popular foods, potentially shifting focus back onto foods’ fat content as companies strive to reach this target.Read more
Allergen-free foods gain momentum
5 Nov 2018
Launches of allergen-free foods have increased in recent years – and not just because of increased prevalence of food allergy.Read more
Enzyme technology slashes sugar in fruit juice
2 Nov 2018
Israeli researchers have developed a new technology to cut sugar by up to 80% in fruit juice, by using enzymes that boost the fibre content at the same time.Read more
What can blockchain do for the food industry?
1 Nov 2018
International food companies have started to embrace blockchain technology to help trace food and ingredients all along the supply chain. What are the potential benefits for the industry?Read more
The mainstreaming of meat alternatives
26 Oct 2018
Tofu and lentils still have their place in a vegetarian diet, but a new generation of meat alternatives makes it easier than ever for consumers to switch to plant-based options – even the most enthusiastic meat eaters.Read more
Are you a supplier
Here's what we can do for you
- Generate quality leads for your business
- Stay visible for 365 days of the year
- Receive product inquiries and respond to meeting requests directly
- Improve company online presence through Search Engine Optimisation