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Interview with Smithers

We caught up with Dr. Alistair Irvine, Principal Technical Specialist, Food Contact Testing, Material Science and Engineering at Smithers, who will be presenting at this June's Food contanct Asia 2024 conference. 


Q1. Hi Alistair, it’s great to have you joining us this year! Can you tell us more about your upcoming presentation at Food Contact Asia 2024?

In my presentation, I’ll be talking about the latest moves in Europe to remove BPA from the food contact supply chain and also the fast-moving situation for PFAS.  I’ll also look to touch on the EU’s latest proposals to tighten up requirements for the purity of additives in food contact plastics.

Q2. What are some of the biggest opportunities gaining attention within the food contact materials and/or packaging industry?

Certainly, the move towards sustainability has been a significant driver for change and the EU’s move in 2022 to formally authorize recycled PET will create opportunities for those materials.

Q3. As consumers/end users continually push for more sustainable/greener/safer solutions, what do you think is the biggest concern/challenge regarding food contact materials/packaging?

The legislation for food contact materials in the EU, USA and other Regulatory environments has been framed mostly with our current range of packaging materials, such as synthetic plastics, in mind.  As new and more sustainable materials are developed, for example biopolymers, these do not always fit well with existing regulatory models.  How the regulators adapt their practices to these developments will determine how quickly we can progress against the sustainability issue.

Q4. What do you think will be some of the most interesting advancements or breakthroughs in food contact materials in the near future?

I think that the development of biopolymers and chemically-modified biopolymers has the potential to transform the food contact world over the next decade.

Q5. Why should people attend Food Contact Asia 2024?

To keep up-to-date with food contact regulations and hear from industry leaders