Eugenio Cavallini, Food Contact Technical Manager at CEPI has been working for the Paper Industry for more than 27 years. For 11 years he has been involved in the fine papers production and for more than 17 years in the packaging cartonboard business. During this last period he has been working in the field of food contact papers and boards and has been member of the CEPI Food Contact Group for 14 years. He has been the Chairman of this CEPI Group for 8 years. Eugenio is the CEPI Food Contact Technical Manager and has also an activity as a consultant for P&B Industry.
Smithers Pira: What are your primary responsibilities as the CEPI Food Contact Technical Manager?
Cavallini: The purpose of my work at CEPI is to be fully informed about and to manage all aspects related to safety of finished P&B materials/articles, their component and processing aids, in relation to their intended uses, in particular the contact with food. In this framework, I have to be up to date on all these aspects through searching, monitoring and collecting all relevant information; I also have to study the relevant technical and legislative information and make it promptly accessible to CEPI members, hence contributing to the understanding of the scientific, technical and legislative aspects, trying to predict them, with particular attention to potential scares. I carry out my task with the support of Groups of experts that are working under the coordination of CEPI, as the CEPI Food Contact Group and the Food Contact Strategy Group.
Smithers Pira: Your role requires extensive knowledge of existing and forthcoming food contact legislation, how do you stay up to date with these developments?
Cavallini: There are many sources of information, ranging from the consultation of the European and National institutional websites (such as EC, EFSA, JRC, the German BfR, the Italian ISS and many others) to the networking activity, which I maintain, cultivate and develop with CEPI Members and other persons and organizations outside CEPI. Other sources of information are the communications coming from sector's specialized institutes. Participation to events such as seminars and workshops, is another important source of knowledge.
Smithers Pira: What's the biggest change you've seen in the FCM sector over the last 10 years?
Cavallini: Actually, I haven't seen big changes in this sector, which I firmly believe it is producing and delivering safe materials and articles to be used in contact with food. In fact, industry is closely involved and active in this field and the cooperation along the supply chain has made steps forward, representing an important change. I should note, amongst others, that uncertainty on the substances that are involved in the FCM activity is still significant, despite the valuable improvement of the analytical methods and instruments: this leads to the conclusion, shared by many of the stakeholders, that an approach that is complementary to the solely analytical one is needed to show compliance and safety. This takes the form of the Systemic Fibre Stewardship project that CEPI is actually carrying on and will be the subject of my presentation in Munich. This project has been is defined of strategic importance by CEPI.
Smithers Pira: CEPI is an organisation with members in 18 countries, attributing 24% of the world's production of pulp and paper. How do the key challenges within food contact differ from country-to-country?
Cavallini: Indeed, the lack of EU harmonised legislation for FC P&B may occasionally cause difficulties in some of the Member States. The application of the EU framework Regulations and of the existing national legislation (amongst these latter there are some that are considered benchmarks and are widely applied) is guaranteeing a high level of safety of the products that are placed on the market, even though some cases of poor application of the mutual recognition principle occur. CEPI is strongly engaged in advocating the finalization and the adoption of a harmonized specific measure for food contact P&B, on behalf of the National Paper Associations, that are its members. Indeed, the European paper industry is concerned about the lack of a harmonised measure for paper and board in contact with food also because, in its absence, some Member States have taken or are taking action to regulate the material nationally, with potentially significant undesirable effects to the sector which could hamper the functioning of the internal market, as evidenced by the case of Mineral Oils.
Smithers Pira: How does your approach as Technical Manager have to change to meet each regional need?
Cavallini: As Technical Manager of CEPI I respond to the requests that come from our members and stay updated with the legal developments in the different countries. In addition to this, the network of National Associations, members of CEPI, play the leading role in issues that are purely national and guarantee punctual information to CEPI.
At the same time, I am active in carrying forward all necessary actions in support and in preparation of a harmonized measure for P&B, which is one of my main commitments.
Smithers Pira: In your opinion, how important is a uniformed European legislation surrounding plastics and paper food contact for innovation?
Cavallini: Paper and plastic are very different materials and we strongly believe that they have to be treated consequently, i.e. with different approaches. Harmonization for paper and board is necessary to avoid also the concrete risk of having provisions for plastics applied to paper. This may further hamper a playing level field for the paper towards plastic and other already harmonized materials.
Smithers Pira: Finally, what are you most looking forward to about the Plastics and Paper in Contact with Foodstuffs event?
Cavallini: The Plastics and Paper in Contact with Foodstuffs event is a very important yearly appointment for the professionals of the FCM sector and participants and speakers are high-level, so it represents to me a good occasion to meet colleagues and exchange information and ideas, to learn the latest news and, last but not least, to spread news and ideas coming from the paper industry.