Alistair Irvine gives insight into the biggest challenges facing the Food Contact industry in 2016

Alistair Irvine, Business Manager for Food Contact Compliance for Smithers, is one of the presenters for the Food Contact Training this November 1-2 in Cleveland, Ohio. Smithers recently spoke with him about his thoughts on what the biggest challenges are that face the Food Contact industry, some of the exciting innovations currently in the industry and why this training is so important for food contact compliance. 

Smithers: What are some big challenges facing the Food Contact industry right now? 

Alistair Irvine:  As I see it, there are a number of issues that are critical within the food contact industry:

  • We are certainly seeing more activism from non-governmental organizations in the USA and in Europe equally and this is certainly driving the agenda on key issues such as Substances Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS), BPA and PFOAs. 
  • Within Europe, the concept of analysis for Non Intentionally Added Substance (NIAS) is continuing to develop, but isn't defined as tightly as it should be by either the legislation or Guidance documents, so industies have critical choices to make when carrying out this work. 
  • Also, within Europe, the legislation continues to develop with a new amendment to the plastics regulation having been published in August 2016 and also the expected publication of a new guideline on testing to support EU Regulation 10/2011. Additionally, to boost the complromise the harmonazation process across the EU. For example, we are seeing new regulations developed the German Regulator on inks for food contact. 
  • The information required to back up compliance in the EU and the USA can now be quite complex and ensuring that this information flow takes place in critical to ensure that all manufacturers and users of packaging can be sure their products meet the requirements of the legislation. 

Smithers:  What are some of the most exciting innovations going in on the industry right now?

Alistrair Irvine:  Mostly, within the packaging industry, innovation tends to be evolutionary rather than revolutionary, but key themes at the moment are Active and Intelligent packaging, the use of recycled materials (for both Plastics and Paper), the continuing replacement of materials based on BPA and also novel uses of inks particularly at high temperatures.


Smithers:  Why is this training (or a topic you are presenting on) so important to the industry right now?

Alistair Irvine:  With a complex legal framework in place and the globalized supply chain that most companies now operate in, having a good understanding of the two most significant frameworks for safety of food contact materials can help you ensure your products meet the requirements of the legislation and can be moved from one region to another without hinderance. 

Register today for Food Contact Training this November 1-2, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio! Hurry, Early Bird pricing expires this September 30th!