Two European regulatory bodies have issued updated guidelines to help ensure compliance from the paper and board sector with EU legislation on food contact materials.
The Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI) and the Confederation of Paper and Board Converters in Europe (CITPA) revised the document due to concerns over the presence of mineral oil hydrocarbons in food, updated German recommendations and the coming into force of Commission Regulation on plastic materials and articles intended to come into contact with food.
The document said studies on mineral oil hydrocarbons found in foodstuffs have raised questions about consumer safety.
“According to these studies, traces of mineral oils are thought to migrate to food from inks present both on the printed surface of packaging and in recycled fibre used in the production of packaging papers.
“The paper and board sector has however taken a number of measures to limit the presence of mineral oils hydrocarbons in the food contact packaging including making commitments to use only mineral oil-free inks for printing this packaging,” said the guidelines.
“It should also be noted that the potential migration of mineral oil hydrocarbons from packaging into food can be limited by reducing as far as possible storage time and temperature of the food after packing.”
The German Bundesinstitut für Risikobewertung (BfR) Recommendation XXXVI Paper and board for food contact was updated on 1 January 2012.
The BfR lists substances permitted for use in paper and board and their limits.
The other reason for the revision was to demonstrate compliance with the Regulation (EC) No 10/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council which came into force in 2011.
However, the guideline is only voluntary guidance for operators in the industry and there is no intention to replace existing national legislation.
Paper manufacturing companies, representing around 50% of the European production of packaging grades, and 20 converting companies implemented the guidelines of the first issue in March 2010.
“The paper and board industry has envisaged its guideline as a moving document which needs to be updated. This is the challenge we have adopted within the industry, supplying safe products and demonstrating compliance with relevant legislation”, said John Swift, chair of the Cross Industry Group, responsible for drafting the industry guideline.
CEPI and CITPA also highlighted a requirement made in issue one of the document that has not proved possible to fulfil due to insufficient information through the supply chain.
The requirement focussed around substances present in paper and board not transferring to food in quantities which might cause the level in the food to exceed required limits, even though the level in the paper and board is within the required guidelines.
“It is understood that further discussions of the issue are underway in the context of guidance to Regulation 10/2011. It may be possible to re-introduce a requirement on dual-use substances in future issues of this guideline based the outcome of these discussions.”
The guidelines are available HERE and then downloading the document.