Current Industry Focus:
Q. What are the current food contact priorities for you and your business?
We caught up with Marco Zhong, Prof./Director from IQTC
, who will be presenting at this September's Food Contact Asia 2021
We are currently working on the safety of food contact materials, which is connected to not only the health risk arising from the migration of chemicals, but also the environmental issues caused by an inappropriate way managing the food packaging. For this purpose the laboratory develops advanced analytical methods for examining the targeted substances and non-intentionally added substances (NIAS) migrated from traditional food contact materials, in the mean time we also conducts the research for investigating the emerging risks that is associated with food contact materials, such as micro(nano)-plastic, PFAS, contaminants of recycled materials and bio-based materials.
Q. What do you consider to be one of the biggest food contact challenges the packaging industry is facing, especially in APAC region?
The risk in associated with NIAS still poses one of the biggest challenges regarding the safety of food contact materials since the test methods, their occurrence, and management approach, etc., are not well studied and harmonized in APAC region.
Q. What are the most important changes in the food contact landscape you are seeing?
The key players in food contact materials pay much more attention on sustainability topic in APAC region, the industry is actively engaging in the use of recycled plastic in food contact materials, while the authorities are investigating the risk of recycled plastic and continues working on the development of authorization procedure.
Q. What regulatory changes do you anticipate seeing in the future?
More food contact regulations are expected to be developed and implemented in the future with the purpose of providing the consumers a higher protection. The regulations on non-plastic, like paper, printing ink and natural materials are receiving particular attention as they are found to be one of main source of contaminants according to latest finding and literature. The measure of positive list (PL) is considered as an effective approach to manage the risk of food contact material from the perspective of supply chain, thus, the competent authorities may strengthen the PL measure in a manner of mandatory in the future.
Q. What opportunities are there for harmonization of food contact regulations in the Asia Pacific region?
In my opinion, the idea sounds great in theory, but in practice it is quite challenging to achieve the harmonization of regulation for food contact material in the Asia Pacific region. A technical regulation is normally established under the country's own regulatory system and affected by many factors. What we are seeing that there are different system or regulations adopted in Asia Pacific region so it would be a tough job to coordinate the harmonization task both in regulatory and technical aspects.
Q. Could you please give us a quick sneak peek of what we can expect to hear during your presentation? Why is it important for others in your industry to hear this message?
The key message I would like to deliver to the audiences is why NAIS matters regarding the compliance of food contact materials. I hope the audience from industry would have a better understanding of NIAS in food contact material, which would be very helpful for them doing the compliance in an effective way.
Q. What are you most looking forward to at Food Contact Asia?
To meet those experts who are familiar with the safety of food contact materials and get the latest development of FCM.