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).
Boom or bust: Are consumers ready for the alternative protein revolution?
24 Jun 2022
While excitement over alt-proteins is high among industry and investors, major challenges remain for companies looking to convince consumers to switch to a plant-based ‘meat alternative’.Read more
New EU mineral oil limits an ‘important step for food safety’
23 Jun 2022
The EU’s decision to restrict aromatic mineral oils (MOAH) in food products has been hailed as an important step in food safety and consumer protection but consumer organisation, Foodwatch, is calling for binding regulation to go one step further.Read more
NutriScore logo could help young people make healthier food choices – but more awareness is needed
22 Jun 2022
The European Nutri-Score labelling system can help young people make healthier food choices, according to a Spanish study – but one third still do not know what the label indicates.Read more
Mars launches animal-free chocolate with Perfect Day’s whey protein
21 Jun 2022
Mars has launched a vegan chocolate bar made with biotech unicorn Perfect Day’s animal-free whey protein made via precision fermentation.Read more
Unilever in $120m biotech venture to scale palm oil alternative
20 Jun 2022
Unilever has teamed up with US biotech company Genomatica to commercialise its palm oil alternative produced via a biotechnology fermentation process.Read more
Clear and accurate precautionary allergen labelling is vitally important, says regulatory expert
17 Jun 2022
As the UK’s Food Standards Agency looks to standardise allergen label wording, it is “vitally important” that food businesses provide consumers with clear and accurate precautionary information about potential unintended allergens in ...Read more
Monterey Mushrooms gets EU approval for vitamin D-rich mushroom powder
16 Jun 2022
Monterey Mushrooms’ vitamin D-rich mushroom powder, produced using ultraviolet (UV) to boost the nutrient content, can be sold in the EU, following novel food approval from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).Read more
Soil sequestration: An emerging opportunity for farmers and food producers
15 Jun 2022
Sequestration of carbon into soil has almost the same potential to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions as the use of wind or solar power and provides farmers with an opportunity equal to that of reforestation strategies, according to Berry Marttin of...Read more
Nitrite and nitrate alternatives gain ground for processed meat applications
14 Jun 2022
As France finalises its review into the health risks of nitrite in cured meats, industry research focuses on the potential substitutes for nitrite and nitrate in processed meats to offer consumers healthy alternatives.Read more
Metrics matter: Measuring the true price of food for a healthy and sustainable future
13 Jun 2022
Food value chains must begin to price in the ‘externalities’ of production, including impacts on human and planetary health, if the world is to realistically create a healthy and sustainable food supply to feed a growing population, according to one of...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