Food Contact Materials in Europe Containing Ground Bamboo

Since the first publication of this note, the European Food Safety Authority published its opinion as regards FCM no 96 “wood flour and fibers, untreated”. The opinion concludes:

Wood cannot be considered inert per se owing to the low molecular weight substances it contains, and when migrating into food, the safety of these constituents be assessed. Presently available information is insufficient to support the authorization of “wood flour and fibers, untreated (FCM No 96) is in accordance with Regulation (EC) 1935/2004. Given the chemical differences in composition of wood species, the safety of migrants from these materials must be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, considering beyond species also origin, processing, treatment for compatibilization with the host polymer and assessment of the low molecular weight constituents migrating into food. This applies to other plant materials as well.

Impact:

Plastic materials containing ground bamboo may not be considered in compliance with the compositional requirements set out in chapter 11 of Regulation 10/2011 and may not be lawfully placed on the European market as they may cause a risk to the consumers. Market controls of bamboo containing plastic materials demonstrate this as there are more than 50 Rapid alert notifications concerning high level of formaldehyde migration from such products, of which over 10% were found to be exceeding the specific migration limit by more than a factor 10.

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Picture credit: Franco Mariuzza on Unsplash

Posted on 8 October 2020