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Keller & Heckman LLP Interview

Ahead Global Food Contact Webinar Series, we spoke to Kathryn C. Skaggs, Associate at Keller & Heckman LLP, to learn more about her outlook on the biggest challenges currently faced by the food contact materials industry, emerging opportunities, and key take-aways from her presentation that will focus on explaining food contact legislation in the Andean Community of Nations and Chile.

Q. As we look to the future of this industry, collaboration and innovation will be crucial ways of tackling the most pressing problems. What are some of the biggest challenges currently facing this industry?

The food contact industry is being challenged to meet sustainability goals set by regulation and by customer initiative.  Tremendous cooperation from all stakeholders – ranging from those supplying recycled source material and recyclers to brand owners and regulators – will be needed to achieve the sustainability goals that have been established.

Also, as companies work to bring new sustainability-focused food contact materials to market, they are challenged to understand the data that are needed to clear these materials in various jurisdictions, and to address safety questions that may be unique to the products. 

Q. What are some of the biggest opportunities in this industry? What changes and developments are you hoping to see in the coming years?

Significant markets, including India and Japan, have burgeoning food-contact regulatory systems.  Industry has an opportunity to continue helping regulators in these countries better understand food contact products and the best science for evaluating these products.  We have been assisting our clients to understand how to comply with these new schemes and how to get new products to market in these countries.

In the coming years, I look forward to changes and developments in regulatory science.  I hope that regulatory bodies and third-party certifying bodies will continue to advance with the science on topics like measuring and modeling migration of food contact substances and predicting the toxicity of these substances.

Q. Even though this year’s event has gone virtual, we’re still bringing together thought leaders from across the supply chain to discuss the latest updates and inspire important conversations. Why is an event like this important to this industry?

The times have shown that food packaging is “essential” to our lives.  From what I have seen, the food contact industry is continuing to innovate and develop at an impressive pace, even now.  It is important for industry to come together at events like Global Food Contact 2020 the so they can discuss how to solve new challenges posed by the pandemic, but also focus on long-range goals and developments.

Q. Your presentation will focus on explaining food contact legislation in the Andean Community of Nations and Chile. What are some key take-aways?

While the other major trade bloc in South America – MERCOSUR – has harmonized food-contact regulations across the member states, the same is not true for the Andean Community.  I hope that attendees will come away with a general understanding of the steps that are needed to bring food contact materials to market in the member states of the Andean Community (Columbia, Ecuador, PerĂº, and Bolivia) and Chile.  We also will discuss how the requirements in the Andean Community and Chile relate to and differ from to the regulations in other jurisdictions.