Food packaging: EU Parliament supports ban on PFAS and BPA 

6 December 2023

On 22 November, the European Parliament voted in favour of an EU Commission proposal to ban the use of intentionally added per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and bisphenol A (BPA) in food packaging.

PFAS are typically used to coat paper and cardboard packaging to make it resistant to grease, and BPA is used in thermal paper.

The ban forms part of the Commission’s proposed packaging and packaging waste regulation (PPWR), which would establish requirements for the entire lifecycle from raw materials to final disposal.

The proposal, which would repeal the current European packaging waste directive, introduces requirements to keep the presence of substances of concern in packaging material to a minimum and eventually introduce a labelling system that would inform consumers about substances in packaging that may be hazardous.

It includes specific provisions for lead, cadmium, mercury and hexavalent chromium, stating that the sum of concentration levels for the heavy metals, from substances present in packaging or its components, should not exceed 100mg/kg.

For an update on the legislative timetable for the PPWR, please see article here.

UK REACH: updates

On 9 November, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) – the policy lead for UK REACH – published an announcement on the Alternative Transitional Registration model (ATRm).

The aim of the ATRm is to reduce costs to business in Great Britain (GB) while continuing to ensure that human health and the environment is protected to a high level.

As a result, Defra have completed a review of the current regulatory framework and determined that regulators do not need to hold a complete replica of all the registration data on substances registered under EU REACH.

Instead, they have determined that UK REACH can adopt a more targeted approach to complete its regulatory work by using information already available.

Consequently, Defra plan to consult on the following areas in early 2024:

  • Refining what information on ‘use and exposure’ GB registrants will need to provide
  • Reducing the essential minimum ‘hazard’ information required for transitional registrations and intermediates, which will mean that UK REACH registrants will not generally need to access and pay for data packages held by EU consortia
  • Significantly reducing the estimated £2 billion costs to industry associated with buying or accessing EU hazard information
  • Improving Regulator powers so that they can require and receive data from registrants quickly for regulatory or risk prioritisation purposes
  • Reviewing the existing fees structure for UK REACH to ensure a more sustainable funding model, including exploring reducing the current fee levels for UK REACH registrations, and
  • Revising UK REACH restriction processes to ensure there is flexibility to act as quickly as possible where risks have been identified

Please note that the ATRm only applies to transitional registrations, which is the registration of substances that were registered under EU REACH before the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020.

Please contact us for any questions or support.

Turkey REACH: proposal to extend registration deadlines

In November, the Turkish authorities proposed extensions – by three to seven years, depending on the substance tonnage and hazard profile – from the current single 31 December 2023 registration deadline.

The extensions would help industry prepare for the challenging REACH-like requirements, particularly with regard to data access and nominating lead registrants.

The proposal still pending approval outlines the following deadlines:

  • December 2026 – for substances in the tonnage band above 1,000 tonnes per year, as well as carcinogenic, mutagenic and reprotoxic (CMR) substances of one tonne per year or more, and substances that are very toxic to aquatic life of 100 tonnes or more per year
  • December 2028 – for the 100-1,000 tonnage band, and
  • December 2030 – for the 1-100 tonnage band.

The draft regulation was open for a very short consultation that concluded on 20 November 2023. It requires ministerial approvals before being adopted into law, which is expected by the end of 2023.

Landbell Group company, H2 Compliance will continue to monitor the situation. If you have any queries, then please contact us.