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Parliamentary questions
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4 February 2020
E-000642/2020
Question for written answer E-000642/2020
to the Commission
Rule 138
Cindy Franssen (PPE)
 Answer in writing 
 Subject: Harmful substances in bamboo eating utensils

Plastic eating utensils, such as plates, cups, cutlery and containers (which are typically disposable) are increasingly being replaced by bamboo products.

Of late, there have been more and more recalls of bamboo eating utensils, for example in France, Germany, Belgium and Denmark, particularly in the case of products intended for babies and children (plates, cups, picnic utensils and lunch boxes). Consumer organisations in these countries are therefore increasingly concerned about the safety of these products on public health grounds. Austria has already banned them.

The most common binding agent used in processing bamboo fibres is melamine-formaldehyde resin, a plastic which, if it is of poor quality, releases toxic components that are harmful to the kidneys (melamine) and carcinogenic (formaldehyde). Despite this, Regulation (EC) No 1935/2004 on materials and articles intended to come into contact with food contains no EU rules on the processing of bamboo powder.

1. Has the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) assessed the risks associated with bamboo products that are intended to come into contact with food?

2. Is the Commission aware of these or other studies and if not, will the Commission arrange for an independent evaluation of the risks associated with bamboo products?

3. Is the Commission considering an amendment to Regulation (EC) No 1935/2004 or specific, harmonised guidelines for the protection of public health in the context of bamboo products which come into contact with food?

Original language of question: NL
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