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Metsä Board Interview 2021

Ahead of Global Food Contact 2021 we spoke to Helena Moring-Vepsäläinen, Manager at Metsä Board who is one of five presenters on the pre-conference workshop on ‘Food Contact Materials Compliance - Holistic Perspectives’.

Read more about Helena’s session at the pre-conference workshop as she offers insights on her session on chemical raw material compliance, industry changes and the future of the paperboard industry. 

1.    Could you please share with our audience a quick snapshot about what you will be sharing in your presentation during the pre-conference workshop? 

As a producer of paperboards for sensitive end uses, Metsä Board is responsible for ensuring that the products are safe for consumers. The first step to comply with all the relevant requirements is to manage chemical raw materials and their compliance. Main focus for our products is on food contact compliance, but there are also several other requirements for chemicals, such as absence of substances of concern on many fields: REACH, CMR, hazardous substances, toy packaging - just to name a few. I will talk about the requirements Metsä Board is expecting from its chemical suppliers, and how the process of the information gathering, evaluation and documentation is handled in our company.

2.    What are the main changes regarding the requirements related to chemicals in the paperboard sector?

The regulatory landscape is evolving and we need to consistently keep an eye on relevant regulations globally. The basic regulations in Europe (Framework regulation) and US (relevant FDA sections) have remained unchanged for a while, but national regulations and recommendations in EU countries have been through recent modifications – French Fiche MCDA no.4 and German BfR XXXVI just to give some examples. 

However, since regulations tend to lag behind the consumer needs, there are concerns that need to be taken into account before they will become regulated on global level. For example mineral oils, fluorinated substances and non intentionally added substances (NIAS) are something to be aware of, even though there are no commonly accepted regulatory tools in place yet for controlling them.

3.    How does the future of the paperboard industry look like? 

Due to mitigation of plastics and other fossil based materials, paperboard as renewable and easily recyclable packaging material has gained an advantage on the markets in recent years. However, the product safety focus has tightened all the time and the development will for sure continue at high speed. Since the restrictions and regulations will have wider and wider scope, there is a lot of work to do on research and regulatory compliance fields. We need to keep up with the trends and requirements and this is how we can succeed in the competition in the future as well.