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Chemical migration from packaging into food – Proposal P1034

(June 2016)

FSANZ is assessing whether chemicals in food packaging present any health and safety concerns, and if so, whether current regulations adequately manage any risks posed.​​
This work is being done through Proposal P1034. You can read the first consultation paper there.
A call for submissions paper is now open for comments. This paper details outcomes of the risk profile, summary of consultations on control measures used by industry and suggested risk management options. Submissions closed on 5 August 2016. Read the consultation paper.

Why is FSANZ doing this work?

FSANZ is aware that concerns have been raised about certain chemicals that may migrate into food from packaging and whether current regulations in Australia and New Zealand protect public health and safety. In this project FSANZ will undertake a risk assessment and analyse current information, existing regulations and industry control measures to determine whether any further action is needed.
The results of previous surveys on the migration of chemicals from food packaging have shown the presence of some packaging chemicals in food, but only at low levels. FSANZ will assess more recently acquired survey data and include this as part of the evidence base during this project.

What are the current food packaging regulations?

Under Australian and New Zealand law all food sold must be safe and suitable.
The Food Standards Code (the Code) has several requirements relating to food packaging. Standard 1.4.1 requires that articles and materials that may be placed in contact with food are not likely to cause bodily harm, distress or discomfort.
The Code, in Standard 1.4.1, also sets maximum levels for some chemical contaminants that may be present in food as a result of migration from packaging materials.
In Australia, Standard 3.2.2 – Food Safety Practices and General Requirements has specific requirements for food businesses to ensure that when packaging food, only packaging material that is fit for its intended use and is not likely to cause food contamination must be used.
In addition, state and territory legislation includes overarching provisions for packaging which make it a criminal offence to sell food packaging or handling materials that are unsafe or will make the food unsafe. 
In New Zealand, businesses operating a Risk Management Programme under the Animal Products Act 1999 or a Food Safety Programme under the Food Act 1981 must take responsibility for identifying hazards and mitigating them in their operations. This includes hazards associated with materials that come into contact with food.

Next steps

FSANZ welcomes public submissions on the consultation paper, responses to questions posed and to hear your preference on proposed risk management options. 

More information

Chemicals in food packaging

Standard 1.4.1 – Contaminants and Natural Toxicants

Standard 1.4.3 – Articles and Materials in Contact with Food.

Australian Standard for Plastic Materials for Food Contact Use, AS 2070-1999 (pdf 121 kb)

Standard 3.2.2  - Food Safety Practices and General Requirements

New Zealand Animal Products Act 1999

New Zealand Food Act 2014


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