Q&A with Dr Alistair Irvine

What are the biggest challenges facing the FCM sector?

The two biggest issues for me at the moment are the European Commission review of the food contact legislation and the moves against specific food contact chemicals such as PFAS by individual legislative bodies such as the US state-level regulators. Developments in individual US states often have impacts that go much wider than the state in which they are enacted and it's increasingly important to understand what's happening at this level. In my view, both of these developments have the possibility of leaving us with a more complex regulatory environment for food contact and I'm keen to learn more of developments in these areas.

How are those challenges being addressed in this year's conference agenda?

There will be several presentations on developments in European legislation and how they fit together with other EC objectives such as the Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability. These will include a presentation from the European Commission and it's always interesting to hear their plans directly. We'll also be hearing from FoodChain ID on the PFAS developments in individual member states.

After a couple of years of virtual events we will be back in-person this year. What have you missed most about physical conferences?

Personally, one of the key realisations from the lockdowns of the last couple of years is how much I missed being with other people. I'm really looking forward to the chance to meet with other delegates and talk about hot-topics of food contact and, of course, catch up with old friends.