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Laws regulating chemicals in food packaging are not good enough, European Parliament says

The European Parliament has today overwhelmingly backed a report calling for substantial improvements in the laws covering the chemicals that are used in food packaging and processes, and which can leach into the food we eat. They also called for a ban on the use of the hormone disrupting chemical Bisphenol A in all food contact materials.

PizzaBoxCHEM Trust has been campaigning for stronger laws on chemicals in food contact material for over two years, however, the European Commission has not yet taken any substantive action.

Now the European Parliament has voted for action, the ball is now in the court of EU Governments and the European Commission. The Commission must draft any new laws, but EU Governments can push them to do this.

As outlined in our briefing on the subject, routine food packaging – like paper and card – contains a range of problematic chemicals, including some that lead to persistent contamination of the environment and our bodies, yet these types of packaging are not properly regulated at EU level. CHEM Trust has also been working to assist in the development of stronger regulations, including hosting a technical workshop on the issue.

CHEM Trust Executive Director Dr Michael Warhurst said:

“We welcome this strong statement from the European Parliament, sending a clear signal to the European Commission and EU governments that it is not acceptable to have such inadequate safety regulations on the use of chemicals in everyday food contact materials like food packaging.

The Commission must act now and draw up new, protective, regulations.”

He added:

“We also welcome the Parliament’s strong statement on the need to get the endocrine disrupting chemical Bisphenol A out of all food contact applications.

BPA has been known for decades to be an endocrine disrupter, and it is shocking how long it is taking for its use to be properly regulated. A ban across all food contact uses – including paper and card – would be an important step forward in public protection”.

For more information on Bisphenol A, see our briefing page.

The final text of the Parliament’s report is available here. For more information on this vote, see the coverage by Food Packaging Forum, and the press release from the European Parliament. HEAL also have a briefing on this issue, and the European Parliament’s research service published a report in May.