Food contact material
Many chemicals are present in the materials that come into contact with food, such as packaging. These chemicals can easily leach or migrate into food, especially when exposed to high temperatures or when contact times are long. Once in our food, they enter our bodies.
Hazardous chemicals are used in all materials. For example, endocrine disruptors such as BPA are used to make certain plastics, as well as the internal coating of aluminium and metal cans and the lids of glass jars and bottles.
Certain hazardous chemicals are banned or restricted for product use yet are allowed for materials that are in contact with food. It is estimated that 58 chemicals recognised as “Substances of Very High Concern” are permitted in food contact materials. In addition, EU laws cover only five of the 17 different types of food contact materials, with paper and cardboard, for example, remaining unregulated.
Endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDC) are of great concern, since they are linked to cancer, reproductive problems, diabetes, learning disorders and asthma, to name a few. A large number of NGOs have created the EDC-Free Europe coalition, which has put together a strategy on steps the EU should take to protect citizens from hormone-disrupting chemicals.