Q&A with Malcolm Driffield

Ahead of P&P 2023 we spoke to Malcolm Driffield, Managing Scientist, Chemical Regulation & Food Safety at Exponent International.

You are speaking about bisphenol A in food contact materials at this year's conference. Can you give us a snapshot of what delegates will hear?

BPA is always a controversial issue because of the differing opinions over the toxicology properties and uses in various food packaging materials. In my presentation, I will discuss the history of BPA in food contact material and provide an overview of the current regulatory status. I will then go into more detail around the state-of-the-art analytical methods used to measure levels of BPA in food contact materials and foodstuffs and discuss whether these are suitable for the very low levels required in legislation. Finally, I'll finish off with some thoughts on the possible future use of BPA and other bisphenols.

What do you see as the major developments that 2024 will bring regarding food contact regulation, testing and enforcement in general?

It will be interesting to continue to follow the European Commission's work programme and in particular their re-evaluation of the general food contact legislation and how this will affect the food contact industry. Another hot topic in all aspects of life, and of course food contact materials also, is sustainability and environmental considerations and I'll be watching out for novel solutions and new food packaging material types which address this, particularly in the space of bio-based materials. Finally, as an Analytical Chemist working in the regulatory space, I'll be keeping an eye on new analytical methods and technologies to keep up with the ever-lower analytical threshold associated with restrictions in legislation.

What are you most looking forward to hearing about and discussing with your fellow speakers and delegates at this year's conference?

The P&P conference is always a well-attended event with a range of delegates from across the regulatory, manufacturing and testing industries, so I'm looking forward to discussing some of the hot-topics such as BPA, as well as NIAS (always one of my favourite topics!), with people with differing experiences and views.