The Norwegian Food Safety Authority (NFSA) has been urged to step-up its food contact material controls, after a review found major “shortcomings” in its compliance with European Economic Area (EEA) legislation.
The assessment, which was conducted by the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) Surveillance Authority in March 2012, concluded that the country’s controls relating to the import, production and use of food contact materials should be tightened.
The EFTA Surveillance Authority monitors compliance with EEA rules in Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein – enabling the EFTA countries to participate in the European Union (EU) internal market without a conventional EU membership.
The objective of the mission was to verify that official controls related to food contact materials were carried out in compliance with the EEA legislation.
The report included a number of corrective recommendations to the NFSA aimed at rectifying the identified shortcomings, which EFTA says have been “taken on board.”
Very limited controls
“What we found was that the Norwegian Food Safety Authority had not put in place a risk-based control system at national level relating to food contact materials,” EFTA Surveillance Authority internal market affairs directorate deputy director, Janne Britt Krakhellen told FoodProductionDaily.com.
During its mission, the EFTA Surveillance Authority found that producers and importers of food contact materials carried out “very limited official controls”, adding that those carried out were not sufficient to ensure compliance.
“What we saw was some shortcomings in the documentation of food contact materials by producers, and in the use of food contact materials. Not all operators were able to present sufficient documentation for the product safety,” said Krakhellen.
“What we can say is that when they failed to present this documentation, they are unable to prove the safety of the materials they produce or use.”
The report added that there has been no official sampling of food contact materials apart from samples taken in connection with two European Union (EU)-coordinated surveys in 2007 and 2011.
“The overall conclusion was that the competent authority which is supposed to carry out these controls, had actually had very few,” she said.
The NFSA has taken note of the shortcomings identified by the report, and has begun work to correct the inadequacies, said Krakhellen.
“They have taken on board our comments and will make corrective actions based on our recommendations,” she said.
“The Food Safety Authority in Norway has replied to our draft report and outlined a number of corrective actions. We will now evaluate the corrective actions they have taken and ask for clarifications or additional corrective actions if considered necessary,” she added.
FoodProductionDaily.com approached the NFSA regarding the review, but no comments were forthcoming before publication.