Scientifically addressing the main challenges in the safety and quality of food contact materials

Strategic Vision

Since more than 30 years the task force strives to understand the challenges to ensure safe food contact materials (FCM) for food consumption and consumer’s health.

Background

European citizens discard on average 170 kg of packaging per person every year, of which more than two thirds come from food. It is therefore important to find a good balance between the benefits of packaging in terms of food protection and its impact on the environment.

Objectives

  • Evaluate food contact materials safety and their interactions with food to ensure consumers’ safety at minimal environmental impact.
  •  Address recent improvements in food production and distribution leading to an increased sophistication of food packaging.

Achieved Results

  • The latest publication describing the roles of in vitro bioassays in food packaging safety assessment (Schilter et al., 2019) has been accepted for publication in Food Additives and Contaminants.
  • The outputs of the Bioassays Expert Group were presented and discussed at the 8th International Fresenius Conference on “Residues of Food Contact Materials in Food” in Dusseldorf, DE, 13-14 June 2019.

Scientific Impact

  • Publication of a series of guidance documents on packaging materials since 2000, recognised and used by industries and universities.
  • The Guidance on the risk assessment of Non-Intentionally Added Substances (NIAS) in FCM (Koster S. et al., 2015) provides a range of recommendations and guidelines to assess the safety of NIAS in all FCM and helps interpreting and complying with the European plastics regulation that introduced the terminology NIAS.
  • Organised every four years and attended by more than 300 experts, the International Symposia on Food Packaging provide a unique platform to discuss the science of the safety and quality of food packaging.

For more detailed information, please contact Dr Lucie Geurts at lgeurts@ilsieurope.be.

Task Force Members


* Scientific Advisors

Expert Groups

Best Practices for Identifying and Quantifying Unknown Migrants from Food Contact Materials (FCMs) – New

Background & Objectives
NIAS (Non-Intentionally Added Substances) are present in all FCMs. However, there is no accepted methodology on how to per form the sample preparation, analysis, or how to identify and more importantly quantify the migrants.

Numerous analytical institutes as well as industry, authorities and test laboratories use their own protocols, leading to widely different results and hence potentially incorrect risk assessment.

This activity aims therefore to provide best practices for identifying and quantifying unknown migrants from FCMs, with widely differing characteristics and applicable to any type of single use FCM.

The objective is to determine whether a set of basic golden rules could be defined to align procedures.

Output
This activity will develop and publish a recommendation document, determining whether best practices can be set to align methods used and available for anybody involved in untargeted screening and will find use in future testing.

7th International Symposium on Food Packaging 2020 – New

Background & Objectives
The ILSI Europe International Symposia on Food Packaging are held every four years and are internationally recognised as scientific fora to discuss and move forward the science that supports safety and innovation in the field with minimal environmental impact.

The 7th International Symposium on Food Packaging will be held on 18-20 November 2020 in Barcelona, Spain.
This three-day conference will be structured around 4 main themes:
1.Advances in analytical techniques;
2.Progress in toxicological prediction and assessment;
3.Progress in risk assessment;
4.Food Contact Materials in circular economy.

Output
This conference of experts facilitates transfer of knowledge and brings innovative solutions to the most pressing issues in this field. The proceedings of these symposia are published in Food Additives and Contaminants: Part A.

Workshop − Mineral Oil Risk Assessment: Knowledge Gaps and Roadmap
In collaboration with the Process-Related Compounds & Natural Toxins Task Force

Objectives
This activity aims to bring together tripartite stakeholders across sectors − food, packaging, cosmetics and lubricants − to examine the current approaches used to establish the safety of mineral oil hydrocarbons. This will include identification of the data gaps on sources of exposure (both dietary and non-dietary) current analytical methodologies, approaches to risk assessment and potential mitigation risk management measures.

Activity
There is uncertainty about the exposure to mineral oils, how/what to measure and characterise, and ultimately what this exposure means in terms of consumer safety. There is consensus between multi-sector stakeholders for a need to address knowledge/data gaps on mineral oils. This activity will bring tripartite stakeholders together to share knowledge and define how best to address the knowledge gaps and uncertainties in the risk assessment.

Roles and Applications of in vitro Bioassays in Safety Evaluation of Food Contact Materials

Background & Objectives
There is an urgent need to better understand the actual safety significance of food contact materials (FCM) as a source of chemical exposure in humans. In vitro bioassays may play a role in the assessment of complex mixtures of chemicals migrating from FCM.

The objective of the activity is to review the roles, availability and suitability of in vitro bioassays for safety assessment of FCM.

Output
The outputs of this activity were reviewed at a workshop held on 8-9 November 2018 in Brussels, BE, to discuss the most relevant bioassays, their limitations and relevance in the context of packaging safety. This output will allow us to develop and publish a transparent guidance document on the use of in vitro data in packaging safety assessment.

Packaging Materials Report 10: Adhesives for Food Packaging Applications Completed

Objectives
This project aims to bring awareness about the importance of safe food packaging to a broader platform and, in particular, increase the knowledge around adhesives in food contact applications. This publication will summarise the latest developments in adhesive technologies. The aim of this report is to give an overview over the different types of adhesives used as specific food contact materials in various packaging. Depending on the broad variation of chemistry in the adhesive formulations, the products have very different properties and application possibilities.

Activity
Adhesives are part of various types of food packaging. They are based on very different formulations containing a multiplicity of substances. This report will describe the diverse technologies of food packaging adhesives, the regulatory background and their risk assessment. This report is addressed to the whole value chain and mainly to converters, food packaging producers and food industry.

Expert Group Members

Best Practices for Identifying and Quantifying Unknown Migrants from Food Contact Materials (FCMs) – New

7th International Symposium on Food Packaging 2020 – New

Organising Committee Members

Scientific Committee Members

Workshop − Mineral Oil Risk Assessment: Knowledge Gaps and Roadmap
In collaboration with the Process-Related Compounds & Natural Toxins Task Force

Roles and Applications of in Vitro Bioassays in Safety Evaluation of Food Contact Materials

Publications

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