According to the Commission Regulation (EC) No 450/2009 of the Commission of European Communities of 29 May 2009 on active and intelligent materials and articles intended to come into contact with food, substances responsible for the active or intelligent function need first to be evaluated by EFSA before their inclusion into a positive Community list. The procedure of the evaluation and the tasks of EFSA are described in the 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.
In the context of this evaluation procedure following requests from the Food Standards Agency, UK, and from Bundesamt für Verbraucherschutz und Lebensmittelsicherheit, Germany, the Panel on Food Contact Materials, Enzymes, Flavourings and Processing Aids (CEF) was asked to deliver an opinion on acrylic acid, sodium salt, co-polymer with acrylic acid, methyl ester, methacrylic acid, 2 hydroxypropylester, and acrylic acid cross-linked (CAS number 117675-55-5, FCM substance No 1022) to be used as liquid absorber in the form of fibres in absorbent pads for the packaging of fresh or frozen meat, poultry, fish, fruits and vegetables. The application dossiers were submitted to the Member State Authorities by Technical Absorbents Ltd UK and by McAirlaid’s Vliesstoffe GmbH & Co KG.
Acrylic acid (CAS 79-10-7, FCM Substance No 147) and acrylic acid, methyl ester (CAS 96-33-3, FCM Substance No 176) are authorised as monomers for plastic materials and articles in contact with food (Commission Regulation (EU) No 10/2011) with a group SML of 6 mg/kg food, expressed as acrylic acid. Methacrylic acid, 2-hydroxypropyl ester EFSA has been evaluated by the EFSA CEF Panel for use as monomer in acrylic resin coatings for food cans.
The Panel considered that migration is not expected when the absorption capacity of the pads is not exceeded. Therefore no exposure from the consumption of the packed food is expected.
The Panel also considered that none of these starting substances give rise to concern for genotoxicity. Considering this, also the size of the cross-linked polymer and its blocked functional groups and that it does not induce gene mutations in an adequately performed in vitro genotoxicity test, the Panel concluded that the cross-linked polymer does not raise concern for genotoxicity.
Therefore the CEF Panel concluded that the use of the substance acrylic acid, sodium salt, co-polymer with acrylic acid, methyl ester, methacrylic acid, 2 hydroxypropylester, and acrylic acid cross-linked does not raise a safety concern when used as fibres in absorbent pads for the packaging of fresh or frozen meat, poultry, fish, fruits and vegetables under conditions under which the absorption capacity of the pads is not exceeded and mechanical release of the fibres from the pads is excluded.