The paper industry is part of a very important sector, the forest products industry, which includes several other industries as well such as the woodworking industry. If suppliers are added to this sector, the annual production value exceeds 450 billion euros and approximately 5 million people are employed. In the European Union, the legal foundations governing materials and articles coming into contact with food are covered in the Framework Directive 89/109/EEC. In contrast to plastics, ceramics and regenerated cellulose there is, as yet, no specific Directive for paper and board intended for food contact. The Council of Europe has, however, been working for many years on a draft resolution. This resolution is likely to be used as a basis for any future European Commission Directive on paper and board. This resolution states that "Chemical or toxicological screening tests for possible unknown substances are desirable. Furthermore the knowledge about the applicability of toxicological screening tests for paper is insufficient for the time being...". Consequently, based on the above, the paper and board manufacturers are concerned about demonstrating high safety standards for their products and wish to exploit this gap in the existing legislation. Thus, they intend to develop a new methodology for the toxicological testing of their product using realistic tests based on end use applications.
This pre-normative project aims to develop tests for rapid and cost effective detection of contaminants in food contact paper and board materials. The work will be prenormative research to develop, validate and intercalibrate a short term biological test battery for safety assessment of fibre-based food contacts materials. The project will bring together and build upon a number of pre-existing testing methods developed in various national projects. The final methodology should ensure that testing methods are available to ensure that only safe paper and board packaging materials are put onto the market. The final aim is to create a basis for scientifically sound recommendations for a harmonised risk evaluation and product testing and increase the confidence of consumers in the ability of European paper industries to continue to provide safe food contact materials.
- Development and intercalibration of toxicity tests;
- Validation of new sublethal toxicity tests between partners;
- Recommendation of a test battery;
- Standard operating procedures (SOPs) for extraction;
- Internal and extended audience workshops on results;
- Decision tree based approach to toxicity testing;
- Basis for scientifically sound recommendations for harmonised risk evaluation;
- Improved understanding between stakeholders on risks.