Food contact applications represent an important part of the paper and board packaging sector.
CEPI’s activity in this field aims at ensuring that this sector can continue to supply its products in a market that is increasingly controlled by regulation, food scares and customer demands. CEPI’s view is to protect businesses, while increasing consumer safety.
In the EU, food contact materials and articles shall comply with the framework Regulation 1935/04.More specifically, the Regulation’s main principle is that they should not “transfer their constituents to food in quantities which could endanger human health or bring about an unacceptable change in the composition or a deterioration of the organoleptic characteristics of the foods”.
Therefore, the focus is on the transfer of constituents, verified via the so-called “migration tests”.
These tests imply the use of food simulants that mimic the behaviour of a certain food (or a class of foods) with respect to its capability to absorb the substances that may be transferred (may migrate) from the packaging.
In many cases, the real behaviour of a material/article may be over- or under-estimated by carrying out tests with the use of simulants. Consequently, Correction Factors should be used so that the migration test results are aligned with the real situation and to ensure that the safety assessment is precise.
In other words, Correction Factors aim at relating migration levels into food with migration levels obtained with the food simulants or extraction solvents used in simplified and standardised test procedures. The use of Correction Factors is envisaged in the EU legislation.
CEPI, with DG Sanco’s guidance, funded a research work on Correction Factors carried out by Laurence Castle, a well-known and estimated scientist, active in the field of food contact materials since many years. Laurence works at FERA, the UK Food and Environment Research Agency.
The report includes a review of published research works along with any unpublished reports on the topic of Correction Factors provided for this review by CEPI. The aim was to relate chemical migration levels from paper and board into foods, with the migration or extraction values obtained using food simulants or solvents, as well as to propose a set of Correction Factors, where justified. The CEPI Food Contact Group has given its support to this work by providing comments in the report’s review phase.
The set of information contained in this work will be one of the tools to be used in the discussion with EU authorities on a specific, EU-harmonised regulation on paper and board for food contact that CEPI is currently advocating for.