Q&A with Birgit Faust from Dow Olefinverbund GmbH

Ahead of this year's Plastics & Paper in Contact with Foodstuffs, Birgit Faust from Dow Olefinverbund GmbH tells us her views on future developments within the industry and what we can expect to learn at this year's conference.

Q. What do you feel will be the most exciting developments in the P&P landscape in the next 5 years?

With respect to product development I expect exciting developments in the area of more sustainable, environmentally friendly, lightweight, safer packaging materials. The focus will be on renewable biobased plastics. Fully automated solutions combining pack, fill and process the food will be the future. From a regulatory development point of view there will be more emphasis on the safety assessment of NIAS, a key challenge is the development of an EU harmonised legislation for all food packaging materials. This will require new regulatory approaches and the development and acceptance of new scientific tools for safety assessment. 

Q. How do you think these developments impact on strategy for developing new FCM throughout the supply chain?

Regulatory compliance, environmental performance and product safety will become key drivers for new developments. Regulation should not be a show stopper for innovations. These developments including successful introduction to the market place will require a close cooperation between all steps within the supply chain. How it can be done is demonstrated per example during development of CANVERA™ Polyolefin Dispersions for metal packaging or the SYMBIEX ™ technology for flexible packaging.

Q. Can you give us a taster of what delegates will expect to hear in your presentation?

My presentation will show how our company takes its responsibility within the supply chain to assess and ensure the safety of our products in food packaging applications. That includes a discussion about the benefit and limitation of guidance documents and standard norms on safety assessment and analytical testing. Issues regarding information exchange within supply chain will be touched too.

Q. What are you most looking forward to at the 2017 P&P conference in December?

I am looking forward to learn about regulatory developments. But I will also enjoy the discussions with experts from all over the world. It is a great opportunity to share experiences, to learn from each other and to extend the personal network.

Q. You are speaking on “Food contact compliance assessment of intermediates - supplier aspects”, what can you tell us about why this is an important topic for the industry right now?

Industry has a legal obligation to inform the downstream users about the safety of the products and industry is more than willing to do that. We are all also consumers. There are scientific principles how to evaluate all substances, which can migrate from the packaging material into the food. But as always the details are often more complex as expected, starting with the analytical methods to identify and quantify those substances and ending with collection of data about toxicology. Therefore it is important to discuss these details and find the best ways to ensure safety for the consumer at the end.