Update of the risk assessment of ‘wood flour and fibres, untreated’ (FCM No 96) for use in food contact materials, and criteria for future applications of materials from plant origin as additives for plastic food contact materials
Competing interests: R. Franz declared that Fraunhofer institute at which he is employed provides advisory services to private business operators active in the sector on food contact materials. In line with EFSA's Policy on Independence* and the Decision of the Executive Director on Competing Interest Management,** a waiver was granted to R. Franz regarding his participation to the EFSA's Working Group on Food Contact Materials (FCM WG) in accordance with Article 21 of the Decision of the Executive Director on Competing Interest Management. Pursuant to Article 21(6) of the above‐mentioned Decision, the involvement of R. Franz is authorised as member in the FCM WG, allowing him to take part in the discussions and in the drafting phase of the scientific output, but he is not allowed to be, or act as, a chairman, a vice‐chairman or rapporteur of the working group.
The EFSA Panel on Food Contact Materials, Enzymes and Processing Aids (CEP) was asked by the European Commission to review whether the authorisation of ‘wood flour and fibres, untreated’ (FCM No 96) is still in accordance with Regulation (EC) No 1935/2004. The additive was included in the list of additives for use in plastic food contact materials (FCM) based on the assumption of its inertness. No toxicological evaluation underlying the inclusion of this entry in the positive list is available. In a literature search, general information on the chemical composition of wood was retrieved showing that wood may contain toxic components and contaminants. The information on migration of substances from wood was found to be limited to its use in the production of wine. Data on migration of substances resulting from the use of wood (flour, fibres) as plastic additive were not available. The Panel therefore concluded that there is insufficient information to support that the current authorisation of ‘wood flour and fibres, untreated’ (FCM No 96) is still in accordance with Regulation (EC) No 1935/2004. As a second step, as requested by the mandate, the Panel set out criteria for future evaluations of wood and similar materials from plant origin as additives for plastic for food contact applications. The Panel noted that due to the chemical differences in composition of plant materials, the safety of migrants from these materials must be evaluated on a case‐by‐case basis, considering beyond species also origin, processing, treatment for compatibilisation with the host polymer and assessment of the low molecular weight constituents migrating into food. Migration of substances resulting from using wood or other plant materials should be tested comparatively in samples made with and without the additive. Toxicological data should cover the substances detected in this analysis.