EU to regulate printed food contact materials
End of 2016 the European Commission (EC) announced its intention to regulate printed food contact materials by 2018. This can be seen as a reaction of the EC to the intention of Germany to regulate printing inks on national level. The German approach would have been contradicting with the spirit of the European Union to have harmonized regulations in EU member states in order to facilitate the free movement of goods. While Germany suspended its legislative work on its draft ordinance, the EC started to work on a harmonized approach to regulate printed food contact materials.
There is the intention to follow a completely new approach to regulate food contact materials in order to provide flexibility and speed for businesses. Therefore, it will not follow the positive list approach which was used e.g. to regulate plastic food contact materials. Instead of having an exhaustive list of substances which have gone through an EFSA approval process, the new proposal includes self-assessment of risk. However, a prerequisite for such a proposal would be to have an EFSA guidance on self-assessment, which is still missing. The initial timeline of the EC to have an adopted measure on printed food contact materials by end of 2018 seems difficult to be kept.
There are a lot of points which are not yet clearly defined and which have to be discussed. Together with many other industry representatives Constantia Flexibles is actively participating in activities to deliver input and suggestions to the EC in order to have a pragmatic, useful and enforceable regulation in the end.