26 January 2019

Published also in Business Mirror

FILIPINO stakeholders are advised to comply with the latest requirements for food contact plastics in the European Union  after the EU recently amended its “Food Contact Plastics” Regulation, the latest revision becoming effective on January 31, 2019.

The European Commission published the 12th amendment to the Plastics Regulation (EU) 10/2011 on January 11, 2019, in the Official Journal of the European Union.

This amendment, Commission Regulation (EU) 2019/37, adds new items to the list of substances that may be used in food contact materials (also referred to as the positive list or the Union list), makes corrections to preexisting substances on the positive list, and clarifies what food simulants should be used for the overall migration testing of milk products.

Specifically, Commission Regulation (EU) 2019/37 (https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX:32019R0037) makes the following amendments, among others:

Replaces four substances and adds three completely new substances to the Union list of authorized substances.

Adds one completely new entry for a group restriction of three substances. These are to be expressed as crotonic acid.

Replaces the specification for 3-hydroxybutanoic acid-3-hydroxypentanoic acid, copolymer (FCM substance  744) with a specific migration limit for crotonic acid.

Replaces two rows on the use of food simulants for certain foods.

Based on favorable scientific opinions from the European Food Safety Authority, the substances added to the positive list in Annex 1 of the Plastics Regulation are:

Poly((R)-3-hydroxybutyrate-co-(R)-3-hydroxyhexanoate), a biodegradable (co)polymer obtained from microbial fermentation used in the manufacture of packaging articles intended to be in contact with whole fruit and vegetables;

Dimethyl carbonate as a monomer; and Isobutane as a foaming/blowing agent only.

According to the latest regulation, food contact plastics that are compliant with Regulation (EU) 10/2011 before the entry into force of this new regulation may be placed on the market until January 31, 2020 and may remain on the market until stocks are exhausted.