Safety & Health
EPFMA makes a common industry move to launch a new generation of films for fatty foods
On 15 May 2002, EPFMA members have added a chapter to their production activities by launching
new films for fatty foods. By launching both a new converter film (fact2 *) & a manual and / or machine film (fact2 / fact3 **), EPFMA has taken a decisive and innovative step towards even more safer PVC cling film for fatty foods.
EPFMA PVC cling film is of the highest quality and safety in the world. EPFMA not only complies with all EU legislation on the issue (food contact, packaging), but is also bound by a strict Quality charter and the Voluntary Commitment of the PVC Industry. EPFMA PVC cling film thus poses absolutely no health nor environmental threath.
Due to a general distrust of all chemical additives and PVC in general, EPFMA believes it does not go far enough in just saying that it complies with current national and EU regulatory requirements. EPFMA members want to go further and want to reassure consumers, users and their associations of the safety and quality of films for fatty foods.
* factor 2 for both DEHA and overall migration
** factor 2 for DEHA migration; factor 3 for overall migration
EPFMA is contributing to the setting up of new legislation on food contact materials
EPFMA is an active participant in the technical EU meetings that prepare EU food contact legislation, the EU Food contact Working Group. The group represented by DG Santé gathers representatives from national authorities of EU countries, EFSA and industry in order to develop a well-balanced and fair EU legislation for materials which come into contact with food.
Following the evolution of plastic food contact the Group has adopted a new Regulation EU N°10/2011 consolidating:
-the Directive 2002/72 EC (plus all amendments of this directive);
-the directive 82/711/EEC on migration testing (plus all amendments of this directive);
-directive 85/572/EEC on food classification; and
-the VCM directives.
The new regulation known as P.I.M (Plastic Implementation Measures) was published on 14 January 2011 and has entered in force on 1 May 2011. The general requirements of this legislation will remain the same, in that the existing global migration Specific Migration Limits (SML) rules on dual additives and the approved List of monomers and additives etc. will largely remain unchanged.
The main legislative modification is linked with the evolution of food contact packaging, and in particular the extended shelf life that some types of packaging can help to impart.
Risk assessments of products based on exposure models will be included in this legislation (mainly for the non intentionally added substances).
For Multimaterial multilayers (MMML), only plastics materials should comply with the regulation; non plastics are not affected by this legislation – non plastics should comply with member states national regulations.
Other modifications to the rules include:
-New rules for migration testing up to 60°C;
-Modification of simulants (A 10% alcohol; C 20% alcohol);
-New simulants: Simulant E (for Specific migration).
The group has also actively worked on:
- the development of a traceability system for food contact materials which is part of the new framework regulation (EC) 1935/2004;
-the good manufacturing practice regulation 2023/2006/EC; and
-the post use consumer recycled materials for food packaging with the regulation 282/2008/EC.
Switzerland makes a positive statement on PVC cling film for fatty foods
The Swiss Federal Office for Public Health expressed for the first time in its information letter n° 65 its position on PVC cling film. The Office clearly states that PVC cling film has numerous technical advantages permitting longer preservation of wrapped food and a protection against external contaminations during stocking and transport. The office continues by saying that there is currently no other product that offers the same advantages and that could thus replace PVC cling film.
The Office therefore concludes that the prohibition to use PVC is not justified. The Swiss authorities finally encourage the industry to continue its research efforts in order to develop PVC cling films with the lowest migration possible. EPFMA shares their opinion and invest time, effort and means into research and development of new, high quality films (see section "EPFMA makes a common industry move to launch a new generation of films for fatty foods").
DEHA plasticiser poses no threat to human health
DEHA is the most common used plasticiser used in vinyl food wrap. It has been approved by worldwide regulators for use in various food types. Up to now no study has been able to prove that DEHA causes adverse health effects in humans.
Test conducted in the UK, in France, Germany and the Netherlands have shown that the average DEHA intake was 6 to 20 times below limits proposed by the EU Scientific Committee for Food, which already builds in large safety margins. Toxicologists and legislative authorities throughout the EU agree that plasticisers used in food packaging pose no hazard to health or the environment.
As an example: a 70 kg adult human would have to eat 500 kg of cheese wrapped in plastic film containing DEHA every day to reach an observable level found in animal testing.
Linpac Plastics Pontivy – May 1999
Research report prepared for EPFMA: determination of DEHA migration from a plasticized PVC film into food and food simulants
In April 2002, EPFMA asked the independent laboratory Pira (UK) to perform tests on PVC film to determine the migration of DEHA into food and food simulants.
EPFMA provided the laboratory with a sample of PVC cling film, which was tested in water, 10% ethanol and 3% acetic acid, olive oil and 3 types of fatty food (cheese, minced lamb, salmon…).
The results of the tests showed that no traces of DEHA could be detected in any of the replicate test acqueous solutions.
The results into food were different depending on the fatness of food and all were far below the specific migration limit of 18 ppm or 3 mg/dm². This study demonstrates also that a factor 5 or above exist between the migration in food and migration in olive oil. This proves that the concept of food consumption factor could be applied for thin film.
Click on the download button below, if you would like to download the complete PIRA study, commissioned by EPFMA.
PIRA International 02A11J0078 – April 2002
EPFMA's new range of films
In 2002, EPFMA members commercialised a new generation of cling films for fatty foods (e.g. cheese). This generation of films not only complies with EU legislation – the strictest in the world - but also exceeds it by reducing the level of DEHA migration by 50 to 70%. The launch of the new films is completely voluntary on EPFMA’s behalf and in line with their philosophy to strive for continuous improvement of its products where possible.
Questions and Answers on PVC & health and safety
Can VCM in PVC induce cancer?
The VCM residue found in PVC only migrate into food in extremely low quantities, considered to be completely harmless by the authorities and on top of that entirely within EU regulations. This is confirmed by independent laboratory testing.
Are certain ingredients of PVC films carcinogenic?
PVC packaging is not toxic. Public authorities agree that the plasticisers used in the PVC packaging material are absolutely harmless to human health.
Are the heavy metal stabilisers sometimes used in PVC production dangerous for human health?
Substances on the basis of metals are sometimes used as a stabilizer in PVC production. They do not endanger human health. They are also strictly regulated.
Please note that EPFMA PVC cling films do not contain heavy metals at all (see Quality charter).
Newslink issue 11 Linpac plastics