Interview with Dr Carolien Schophuizen from Royal HaskoningDHV

Ahead of P&P (Plastics and Paper in Contact With Foodstuffs) we spoke to Dr Carolien Schophuizen from Royal HaskoningDHV. We asked for her thoughts on the biggest challenges facing the industry today, what you can expect from her presentation, food compliance and why you need to attend this year's P&P. 

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Could you please give us a quick sneak peek of what we can expect to hear during your presentation?

In the presentation I would like to focus on the challenges that industry faces, in terms of end-of waste and using recycled plastic for (new) food-contact purposes. I will try to illustrate the drawbacks, hurdles and possible solutions using practical examples from industry.


What do you consider to be one of the biggest challenges that the food contact industry is facing?

I think the biggest challenge for the industry will be the safe utilisation of recycled material in food contact applications. For example, at the moment plastic food packaging is still often prepared from virgin material, while packaging also forms a large part of the plastic waste.  The actual use of recycled plastic as a material source will be essential in order to reach circularity. However managing the safety aspect with regard to migration potential and the presence of impurities or contaminants in this non-virgin starting material will be challenging.


How can you ensure you stay compliant with the latest food contact regulations and best practice?

A comprehensive understanding of the broader regulatory framework (including for example REACH, Substance of Very High Concern [SVHC in the Netherlands ZZS / pZZS] and FCM) is essential. For this, it is important to keep track with the regulatory developments and understand their  implications and compliance challenges. Newsletters, webinars, seminars and branch-organisations or consultancies can help companies to stay on track and to be compliant.


Are there any sessions within the agenda that you are particularly interested in attending?

As a toxicologist I would be particularly interested to attend Session 2 regarding Risk Assessment and Safety. However, various interesting topics will be presented in most of the other sessions as well.


Why this international conference could be relevant to the industry right now?

The field of food contact legislation is evolving. Regulatory harmonisation is taking place on an international level, and at the moment an enormous amount of information has come available through REACH. In combination with the focus on circularity, climate change and sustainability,  these are interesting times, in which the fundamentals of future legislation are being laid down.