EFSA is holding the workshop in Milan, Italy, on 9-10 March, to gather feedback from stakeholders before the regulator publishes a report on its findings.
Active participation expected
Participants at the workshop will be invited to comment on the progress of the work so far. In addition, they will be given the opportunity to present on their own approaches to risk assessment.
The workshop and the review cover a broad stretch of products under the banner of ‘non-plastic food contact materials’. EFSA is therefore expecting representatives from areas including coatings, printing inks, paper and board, rubber, silicones, adhesives, ion-exchange resins, wood and cork.
The European regulator announced that it was setting up an expert panel to look into the safety of these materials in February this year. The decision comes as a response to a number of episodes in the last few years involving the migration of non-plastic contact materials into food - particularly chemicals in printing inks.
The main priorities of the panel review are therefore likely to include printing inks as well as paper/cardboard used in packaging, according to an EFSA spokesman.
Main panel tasks
The panel is tasked with identifying strengths and weaknesses of different approaches used for risk assessment, proposing criteria for future safety evaluations and tabling recommendations for future action.
It is hoped that the work will inform future discussions on the issue at an EU level and help to prevent future crises. EFSA said previous scares were mainly due to the lack of harmonised risk assessment approaches and specific EU legislation.
The EFSA panel is due to publish its review in the first half of 2011.