FCM: Denmark proposal to ban fluorinated compounds in paper & cardboard
Paper & cardboard intended to pack food can be treated on the surface with so-called fluorinated substances to give the surface a grease and water repellent effect. This may be the case for certain packaging for instance for fast food and for baking paper. Because of the contact with fat and wet food, this effect is necessary. Fortunately, paper & cardboard can also be made grease-and water-repellent without the use of fluoride substances.
The problem with the fluorinated substances is that they can be very difficult to break down into the environment and some accumulate in the human/animal organism. Moreover, many of them are suspected to be carcinogenic and to work as a hormone disruptor.
The Danish Veterinary and Food Administration advised already a long time ago to ban the use of fluorinated substances in paper & cardboard for food. Therefore, in the retail, steps have been taken to phase out voluntarily these substances, but analyses show that they may still be present in the products.
What is banned?
The ban includes the use of all organic fluorinated compounds in paper & cardboard that come into contact with food. It remains possible to use recycled paper & cardboard and paper & cardboard for food contact, but if the material contains a fluorine, it should be separated from the foodstuff with a functional barrier which ensures that the fluoride does not migrate to the food.
According to the press release issued by the Danish Ministry of Environment & Nutrition on September 2nd, the proposal for the ban is currently undergoing an external consultation and the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration expects that it will enter in force in July 2020.
In may 2019, the European Commission published the EU 2019/794 Recommendation on a coordinated control plan aiming to establish the prevalence of certain substances – including per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) migrating from materials and articles intended to come into contact with food.
The competent authorities of the Member States should carry out official controls for this purpose. For the fluorinated compounds the food contact material to be sampled are paper & cardboard based materials and articles, including those used to wrap fast-food, takeaway and bakery products and microwave popcorn bags.
Controls should take place from June 1st, 2019 to December 31th, 2019 and the results should be reported to the Commission February 29th, 2020.
Furthermore, within the framework of REACH, regulation EU/2017/1000 imposes restrictions on Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), its salts and related substances.
IBE-BVI members may, on simple request, receive the Commission recommendation EU/2019/794 and the