Risk Assessment of Food Contact Materials II
Food contact materials (FCMs) are materials and articles intended to be placed in direct or indirect contact with foodstuffs, or which can reasonably be expected to come into contact with food under normal or foreseeable conditions of use. Substances intentionally used to manufacture FCMs, as well as non-intentionally added substances resulting from impurities, by-products and/or degradation products, can migrate from FMCs into food and, consequently, are taken up by humans. To protect consumers’ health, EU legislation requires that FCMs must be sufficiently inert to prevent substances from being transferred into the food in quantities that could endanger human health. At the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR), Unit 74 ‘Safety of Food Contact Materials’ deals with the risk assessment of FCMs and provides recommendations on the use of substances for the production of FCMs for which no specific European measures exist yet (e.g. silicone, rubber, paper and board). The BfR ‘Recommendations on Food Contact Materials’ are not legally binding; however, they represent the current state of the scientific and technical knowledge for the conditions under which these materials meet the requirements for consumer safety. As part of the EU-FORA programme, the fellow was involved in the risk assessment tasks and projects undertaken by Unit 74, which include: (i) the scientific evaluation of analytical and toxicological data from dossiers for adding new substances to the database ‘BfR Recommendations on Food Contact Materials’; (ii) the hazard assessment of cyclic volatile methylsiloxanes (cVMS) migrating from silicone FCMs into foodstuff; and (iii) in vitro metabolic stability study of cyclic methylsiloxanes in the presence of S9 fraction, performed in the BfR laboratories. Moreover, the EU-FORA fellowship was a great opportunity for the fellow to build a strong network of food safety experts and to be part of an international community of risk assessment professionals.