≡ Menu

Hazardous chemicals in food packaging: CHEM Trust writes to EU Commissioner Borg

New research published this week has revealed that hazardous chemicals – including endocrine disrupting chemicals – are used in packaging around food (food contact packaging).

In the study – which has been reported by the Daily Mail and the Daily Express – the authors identified 175 potentially hazardous substances legally used in the production of food contact materials in Europe and the U.S. They also point out deficiencies in the regulation of many of the chemicals used in food contact packaging in the European Union (EU).

CHEM Trust considers that it is important that regulations are strengthened as soon as possible, to ensure that the public is protected from exposure to such chemicals.

We therefore sent a letter this morning (9th July 2014) to EU Health Commissioner Tonio Borg, making two key points:

1) There is a gap in EU regulation of chemicals in food contact packaging, if this packaging is not plastic – for example, if it is paper, board, rubber or cork.

  • EU regulations on chemicals in food contact packaging do not contain an EU-wide system for controlling chemical use in non-plastic packaging.

2) This research demonstrates that a substantial number of chemicals with hazardous properties are used in food contact materials

  • Even where there is EU-level regulation of chemicals in food contact packaging – e.g. for food contact plastics – this regulation is not stringent enough to properly protect human health. This is particularly the case for endocrine disrupting chemicals, where there continues to be major delays in the Commission’s work on this important issue.

We look forward to hearing more from the Commissioner and his team.

Update: Our letter was covered in Chemical Watch on 10th July.