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Parliamentary questions
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12 June 2019
E-001484/2019(ASW)
Answer given by Mr Andriukaitis on behalf of the European Commission
Question reference: E-001484/2019

As the Commission pointed out in its reply to Written Question E-006527/2017, the use of per‐ and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in food contact materials (FCM) is limited. Commission Regulation (EU) No 10/2011(1) limits the use of PFAS in plastic FCM, which can only be used after authorisation with certain restrictions based on a safety assessment by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).

For materials other than plastic, business operators are responsible for ensuring that food contact materials do not transfer their constituents to food in amounts hazardous to human health in accordance with Regulation (EC) No 1935/2004(2).

Under the REACH(3) and POP(4) regulations, some PFAS have already been restricted(5), for some PFAS a restriction proposal under REACH is being finalised(6). In any potential REACH restriction, an unacceptable risk to human health or the environment must be identified, while the socioeconomic impact of the restriction, including the availability of alternatives are also taken into account. Furthermore, under REACH authorisation, certain PFAS have already been identified and certain PFAS are being identified as substances of very high concern(7).

In 2018, EFSA adopted a scientific opinion on the risks to human health related to the presence of PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid) and PFOS (perfluorooctane sulfonic acid) in food(8). Studies identified by EFSA in this opinion suggest that fluoropolymer food contact materials are not likely to be a major source of PFASs.

The Commission will consider any necessary follow up action once EFSA has finalised its opinion as regards the risks to human health related to the presence in food of perfluoroalkylated substances other than PFOS and PFOA, due by the end of 2019.

(1)Commission Regulation (EU) No 10/2011 of 14 January 2011 on plastic materials and articles intended to come into contact with food Text with EEA relevance, OJ L 12, 15.1.2011, p. 1‐89.
(2)Regulation (EC) No 1935/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 October 2004 on materials and articles intended to come into contact with food and repealing Directives 80/590/EEC and 89/109/EEC, OJ L 338, 13.11.2004, p. 4‐17.
(3)Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2006 concerning the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH), OJ L 396, 30.12.2006
(4)Regulation (EC) No 850/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 on persistent organic pollutants and amending Directive 79/117/EEC
(5)Commission Regulation (EU) 2017/1000 of 13 June 2017, OJ L150, 14.6.2017, p.14 and Commission Regulation (EU) No 757/2010 of 24 August 2010, OJ L223, 25.8.2010, p.29.
(6)https://echa.europa.eu/previous-consultations-on-restriction-proposals/-/substance-rev/18115/term
(7)Some PFAS have already been identified as SVHC e.g. https://echa.europa.eu/candidate-list-table, and others are in the process of being identified as SVHC e.g. https://echa.europa.eu/registry-of-svhc-intentions/-/dislist/details/0b0236e182bbccf8
(8)https://efsa.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.2903/j.efsa.2018.5194

Last updated: 13 June 2019Legal notice