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Unwrapping food packAging video blog

A video blog hosted by the Food Packaging Forum’s managing director explains scientific topics and explores new developments within the field of food packaging and health

About the Blog

Hosted by Jane Muncke, the Food Packaging Forum’s Managing Director and Chief Scientific Officer, this video series introduces viewers to fundamental topics and new scientific developments within the field of food packaging and health. This includes understanding the chemical composition of food packaging, how these chemicals can transfer into food, the associated health impacts, and efforts being made by stakeholders to address this to protect human and environmental health.

The episodes each present and discuss a different set of concepts and provide viewers with links to additional resources where they can learn more. Many of the publicly available resources provided by the Food Packaging Forum are introduced, and future episodes will also feature interviews with other experts. All available episodes can be viewed below or through visiting the Food Packaging Forum’s .

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Watch the episodes

Episode 1: Food packaging is safe, right?

In this first episode, Jane explains why food packaging cannot be considered “safe” in the sense of not containing hazardous chemicals. She introduces the fundamentals of chemical migration, toxicity of hazardous chemicals, low dose exposures, and chemical mixtures. The episode also discusses current gaps in the EU regulations on food contact materials (FCMs) and articles (FCAs).Relevant References:
  • Muncke J et al. (2020). “.” Environmental Health

Episode 2: Are low levels of chemicals in food packaging safe?

In this second episode, Jane discusses how chemicals are defined as ‘safe’ through chemical risk assessments, including the concepts of hazard and exposure. She presents why low levels of chemicals present in food packaging may not mean that they are safe levels. This includes an understanding of (i) non-monotonic dose responses where effects from a chemical are seen at lower but not at higher concentrations, (ii) mixtures of chemicals migrating together from food packaging, and (iii) the timing of exposure to a chemical (such as on pre-natal or early life phases) that can be critical, even at low concentrations.Relevant References and Resources:
  • Costa, S.A., Vilela, S., Correia, D., Severo, M., Lopes, C. and Torres, D. (2020). “.” British Food Journal
  • EU legal definition of safety: “.”
  • Non-monotonic dose-response: vom Saal et al. (1997). “.” Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA
  • Health and Environment Alliance (March 2019). “.“
  • Food Packaging Forum (November 2020). “Food Contact Chemicals Database and list of priority substances.”
  • European Parliament (January 2019). “.”
  • Mixture toxicity: Silva, E et al. (2002). “.” Environmental Science & Technology
  • Tanner, E. et al. (2019). “.” Environmental International

Episode 3: All chemicals that could transfer from packaging into food are well known, right?

In this third episode, Jane discusses what types of chemicals can be present in food packaging, including the unknown “non-intentionally added substances” (NIAS) and the challenges they pose to ensuring chemical safety, recycling, and enabling a circular economy. Of the more than 8,000 chemicals known to be used to make food packaging and other food contact articles, she reviews published data describing the very small number of them that are actually being regularly and systemically checked and enforced in food packaging available on the market. She also discusses the (i) challenges posed by chemical additives present in biodegradable packaging intended for composting, (ii) ongoing revision of food contact material regulations in the EU, and (iii) how prioritizing removal of the most hazardous chemicals can be a first step for moving forward.Relevant References and Resources:

Episode 4: Reduce, reuse, recycle – when it comes to dealing with food packaging waste, it’s that simple, right?

In this fourth episode, Jane explores the functions of food packaging. Why is the evolution of human culture closely linked to food packaging functionalities? And what is the role of food packaging in enabling food industry and retail business models? What types of environmental impacts of food packaging should be considered when comparing options? And: Why is recycling not a silver-bullet solution when it comes to addressing the waste from food packaging?Relevant References and Resources:
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