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The Mercosur Technical Regulations on Positive List of Additives for Plastic Materials and Polymeric Coatings Intended to Contact Food (GMC Res. 39/19) was adopted on July 15, 2019, after a 6-year revision process. This regulation must be transposed into Mercosur Member States’ laws to become effective and replace GMC Res. 32/07. This process could take up to a year, explained Associate Kathryn Skaggs at Keller and Heckman’s 20th Annual Food Packaging Law Seminar, held September 24-25, 2019, in Arlington, Virginia.

Denmark plans to ban all organic fluorinated compounds in paper and paperboard food-contact materials (FCMs). The ban is undergoing external consultation and the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration expects the ban to take effect in July 2020, according to a press release (in Danish) issued on September 4. The use of recycled paper that contains fluorine would continue to be allowed but only if it is separated from the food by a functional barrier to migration.

On August 21, 2019, the China National Center for Food Safety Risk Assessment (CFSA) solicited comments on 21 substances for food-contact materials and articles. The substances—six additives for expanded use scope or use level, five new additives, three resins for expanded use scope or use level, and seven new resins—are listed below.  

Additives with expanded use scope or use level

Legislation recently introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives seeks to amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act) to deem any perfluoroalkyl or polyfluoroalkyl substance (PFAS) used as a food contact substance to be unsafe and, therefore, adulterated under the FD&C Act. The “Keep Food Containers Safe from PFAS Act,” H.R. 2827, would give the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) until 2022 to enforce this ban.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has denied a request for a public hearing on its May 2017 decision to deny a Food Additive Petition to remove several clearances for perchlorate from use in food-contact applications.  By way of background, the Food Additive Petition was submitted in 2014 by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and eight other nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). It requested that FDA:

The Washington State Department of Ecology (Ecology) has requested input from interested parties on products that can replace per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in food packaging, particularly those that provide oil and grease resistance. The information is being gathered as part of an alternatives assessment (AA) required by Washington’s Toxics in Packaging Law (RCW 70.95G).

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced on November 14, 2018, that it has filed a Food Additive Petition (FAP) to amend its food additive regulations to remove the clearances for 26 ortho-phthalates due to abandonment by industry. The FAP was filed on July 3, 2018 by the Flexible Vinyl Alliance (FVA).

 The Washington State Department of Ecology (Ecology) published an alternatives assessment (AA) project summary for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) on November 6, 2018 (available here). The assessment is required by legislation concerning the use of perfluorinated chemicals in food packaging, HB 2658, that was signed into law by the governor on March 21, 2018.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that it is amending the food additive regulations to no longer permit the use of styrene as a synthetic flavoring substance and adjuvant in food because that use has been permanently abandoned by industry. FDA took this action in response to a food additive petition (FAP) submitted by the Styrene Information and Research Center (SIRC).