Business Health

Danish Government Considers Total Ban of Fluorinated Chemicals in Food Contact Materials

The Danish Veterinary and Food Administration has announced that it may ban all fluorinated chemicals in food contact materials (FCMs). The administrative body is currently in the process of examining all possibilities regarding the enforcement of nation-wide ban on deploying organic fluorinated chemicals in cardboard and paper food packaging.

The Danish Ministry of Environment stated in a recent release that the fluorinated compounds are highly degradable as some of them accumulate in humans and in animals. The ministry added that some of the fluorinated chemicals are also suspected of being carcinogens and endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDC’s) which are harmful for the organism’s immune system.

The consideration of ban on fluorinated chemicals follows after the European Food Safety Authority in a risk assessment on perflurooctanoic acid and perfluorooctane sulfonate that humans have a lower toleration level of these two chemicals than previously thought which might lead to adverse effects.

The environment and food minister Jacob Ellemann-Jensen said that EFSA’s latest assessment has revealed the harmful effects of fluorinated chemicals, which has led it to consider a complete ban on them. He added that Denmark can become the first country to ban the entire organic fluorinated compounds in paper and cardboard food contact materials.

The Danish regulatory authority has long advised companies against using the fluorinated compounds in FCMs, and some of them obliged by voluntarily phasing out the substances from their products. Three years ago, a national recommendation was issued to avoid using fluorinated chemicals in FCMs; however, just last year, investigators in the ministry found traces of fluorinated substances in paper wrappings used for cakes.

The European Union is currently undertaking an evaluation process of substances in FCMs. The national ban imposed by Danish Government would last until EU’s own regulation on the fluorinated substances in FCMs comes into effect. The basic provisions which were formulated 42 years ago have not been revised yet.

The Danish government wants to address the issue of lack of harmonized laws in this field by formulating certain rules. A study by the Joint Research Centre  in 2016 revealed that the current laws in place differ in terms of substance and coherence,  The governments rule has not  been taken lightly by NGO’s who have criticized the government that the regulation is full of loopholes. At the May 2018 Nordic Workshop, experts supported ban of PFASs card board and paper FCMs.

About the author

Sneha Varghese

Sneha Varghese is an experienced food & beverage consultant. She covers the latest trends and analysis impacting the food & beverages industry, informing and educating audiences through her writing.

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