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EC loosens plastic food-contact rules

The European Commission (EC) agreed in principle to reduce the amount of toxicological testing required for plastics additives in food packaging. The reason?

It seems that the medium to high molecular weight of many plastic additives prevent them from migrating into food according to a petition furnished to an EC scientific committee by a European chemical trade group. Specific EC testing requirements for additives are expected shortly. Meanwhile the EC is moving ahead on harmonization of plastic food packaging laws which vary from country to country. An EC committee has approved ten new additives and three monomers for plastic food-contact applications without any restrictions or other specifications. Also the authorization period for monomers on a so-called "temporarily permitted" list has been extended to 2002.

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