Food Packaging Forum Interview

Ahead of Plastics and Paper in Contact with Foodstuff 2019 we spoke with Dr. Birgit Gueke, Scientific Officer from the Food Packaging Forum about her upcoming presentation, food contact industry challenges, staying compliant and more.

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

Chemical migration from food contact materials and food contact articles is a common phenomenon which has been described in hundreds of scientific studies. However, a comprehensive overview of such studies is currently not available. Therefore, we developed and applied a systematic mapping protocol to integrate the scientific evidence on food contact chemicals (FCCs) that migrated or were extracted from food contact materials and articles. The resulting evidence map is based on about 1500 data sources and can be used to recognize trends, enable systematic reviews and address knowledge gaps. In the course of the project, FCCs with migration information will be compared against available biomonitoring studies to obtain further evidence of human exposure to FCCs.

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

I think it his highly challenging to align the requirements of safe FCMs with the targets of the Circular Economy. Recycling is one important measure to achieve a CE but the use of recycled FCMs may cause safety issues due to increased chemical migration. Hence, the development and promotion of FCMs that are preferentially reusable or at least easily recyclable should have high priority during research and development. Avoiding hazardous chemicals and reducing the complexity of FCMs are important steps to reach these goals.

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

There are many ways to stay up to date by using various channels for information. Conferences such as the P&P or the annual FPF workshop are important events in this field allowing regular exchange with other stakeholders and providing the latest updates.