|Food Safety and Security
Contaminants, residues and contact materials
Food contact materials (FCM) can contain chemicals that could migrate from the material itself to the foodstuff posing health concerns if ingested in non‐safe quantities by the consumer. FCM include containers, packaging, machinery or kitchenware and can be made from different materials like plastics, paper and board, metal or glass. Printing inks are also an important part of FCM. FCM have an important role in preventing damage or spoilage of the foodstuff and are essential along the food chain. Therefore, their safety needs to be carefully assessed in order to reduce the exposure to potentially hazardous substances and protect the health of the consumer. At the EU level, the legislation on FCM establishes general safety requirements for FCM. In addition, for certain materials, specific measures concerning usage and release of substances have been set. For materials or articles not specifically regulated in this harmonised framework, safety must be proven on a case‐by‐case basis. National legislations and lists of substances evaluated by competent authorities are important data sources in this context. One of the most important databases are the ‘BfR Recommendations on Food Contact Materials’ and the soon to come German national regulation on printing inks. BfR Unit 74, besides dealing with chemical risk assessment of FCM, is responsible for the evaluation of application dossiers for including substances into the BfR recommendations on FCM or the substance list of the printing inks regulation. Through the proposed work programme the fellow has been involved in risk assessment of substances that migrate from FCM into foodstuff gaining experience in the methodologies used to perform the scientific data evaluation as well as to support the BfR Unit 74s work.