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Barry Podd sheds light on the most exciting FCM developments in the next 5 years

Ahead of this year’s Plastics and Paper in Contact with Foodstuffs conference, we caught up with Barry Podd, Independent Consultant & former Global Regulatory Affairs Manager at Kimberly Clark to hear his thoughts on the most exciting developments in the food contact regulatory landscape in the next 5 years.

Dr Barry Podd, Independent Consultant, gained a BA (Hons) and a PhD in Chemistry from the University of Essex.

He was a Post Doctoral Research Fellow for three years at the University of Surrey. Podd spent 26 years in the Chemical Industry in various positions in Research and Development, Marketing, Sales and the Regulatory Affairs Departments. Podd joined Kimberly Clark in 2005 and was Associate Director Global Regulatory Affairs responsible for Chemical Management and Food Contact issues around the world until he retired at the end of 2012. Before retiring, Barry was active in the EDANA and European Tissue Symposium [ETS] Trade Associations. Podd chaired the EDANA Industrial Wipes Group and the EDANA REACH Core Group plus being a member of the ETS Food Contact Working Group where he represented the European Tissue Industry on a number of Cross Industry Working Groups.

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

Dr. Podd: The continued development of compliance mechanisms, whether they come from the European Commission, the Council of Europe, Member States or Industry will ensure the continued safety in use of all food packaging materials manufactured from Paper and Board.

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

Dr. Podd: Ensuring and maintaining the compliance of all food contact materials manufactured from Paper and Board is a “must have” for companies placing products onto the European Market. In the absence of harmonised legislation, the key is to devise a coherent strategy to minimise the impact on resources and maximise the number of countries where products can be sold.

Smithers: You are speaking on substances of concern, where are you seeing the most risk at the moment? What do you think are the alternatives?

Dr. Podd: When substances of concern are found in food contact materials the press move quickly to publish the information and consumers are concerned about the impact. Even though the regulatory authorities move quickly to show that that the risk to the consumer is either extremely low or negligible, industry can help my remaining vigilant and monitoring the information published under other chemical legislation, e.g., REACH and CLP, which provide lists of chemicals of potential concern.

Smithers: How do you feel that negative public perception can be better managed for new substances and materials?

Dr. Podd: Communication along the supply chain is key to this process and the various tools used in the harmonised legislation, e.g., GMP, product traceability, declarations of compliance, etc. are helping manage the flow of information and minimise the risk of hazardous contaminants being present in food contact materials.

Smithers: Why do you feel that participating in the P&P conference is important?

Dr. Podd: The P&P Conference is still the best place to find out what has happened and what is planned for the future. 

Smithers: What are you most looking forward to at the 2016 P&P conference in December?

Dr. Podd: Networking with colleagues and learning more about progress in the legislative arena and what issues are of most interest to the Paper and Plastics Industry supplying food contact materials in Europe.  

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