Packaging firms question EFSA food contact consultation

By Rod Addy

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags European union European food safety authority European commission

EFSA is currently determining the safety of food contact materials incorporated into packaging
EFSA is currently determining the safety of food contact materials incorporated into packaging
EU packaging firms are concerned the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) is not consulting the industry enough in its discussions on authorisation of food contact materials in packaging.

The Active & Intelligent Packaging Industry Association (AIPIA) told its members had asked it to monitor the new authorisations from the European Commission for such substances.

Concerns had been expressed by some members that the first list of authorised substances would be published without proper consultation with industry, the organisation said.

'Somewhat lopsided process'

“Under the New Approach Directive method some detailed talks with industry would have occurred, or even a Technical Committee convened,"​ one senior AIPIA board member explained. "But the current process means that EFSA is the only body involved in the decision, once the submissions have been made. This seems a somewhat lopsided process to us and could lead to a flawed result.”

AIPIA had already opened a dialogue with the relevant directorate in Brussels, which will shortly publish the first list, it told this site. The association's director Eef de Ferrante said: “We have already had several open and constructive conversations and held a meeting with the Commission as well as attending a formal meeting of stakeholders on the matter.”

A list of substances for which applications for authorisation have been received are currently under scrutiny by EFSA, which will give its opinion on the safety of their safe use in food packaging.

Substances excluded

Substances excluded from the first authorised list can no longer be placed on the market for use in active or intelligent components in contact with food. If allowed a substance is permitted for use by any supplier, not just the one who submitted it for testing. 

A second round of applications will be permitted after tests on the first substances to be received are completed. There may also be an appeals process, which would need to be completed before new applications are scrutinised. However, AIPIA said there was concern about the timescales involved.

“We understand the Commission is anxious to get this process right, particularly in the light of so many food scares recently,”​ said de Ferrante. “We have to convince our members to be confident that this is an open and fair process and not just an academic exercise.

Related topics Processing & packaging

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