Efsa revises draft guidelines for food contact materials, calls for proposals to study implications.

The European Food Safety Authority’s (Efsa) Panel on Food Contact Materials, Enzymes, Flavourings and Processing Aids (CEF) recently drafted revisions to its guidelines [PDF] for food contact materials (FCMs), incorporating new data requirements that could lead to substance re-evaluations. In response, Efsa’s Food Ingredients Packaging (FIP) unit has launched a call [PDF] for proposals to study the implications of the revisions.

The guidelines specify the data that must be submitted with applications for safety assessments of substances to be used in FCMs prior to authorization by the European Commission. CEF revisited the guidelines in light of recent scientific developments, opinions issued by Efsa, and experience gained from safety evaluations of many different substances. In the revisions, CEF proposes carrying out “an exposure assessment using a harmonised methodology” established by Efsa. The assessment would take into account specific consumption by subgroups of the population, such as infants and toddlers, in contrast to the current approach, which uses a single value. The CEF panel also suggests setting standardized consumption data for a number of food categories.

The exposure-based approach proposed by CEF could result in different requirements for submission of toxicological information and use restrictions for certain substances. Therefore, Efsa “considers it necessary” to assess the implications of the draft revised guidelines and the differences from the current guidelines, as specified in the call for proposals.

The draft revised guidelines are not yet publically available. The CEF panel plans to adopt the revisions at its plenary meeting next week, after which the guidelines will be released for public consultation.