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Positive EFSA opinion for TNO food-grade plastic recycling process

Netherlands – According to the European Food & Safety Authority (EFSA) newsletter of 14 December 2010, “EFSA delivers its first opinion on the safety of a process for manufacturing recycled plastics to be used as food contact materials”. This first European EFSA opinion is given for a recycling petition filed by Dutch research institute TNO.

Between 17 April 2008 and 31 December 2009, recyclers of existing processes for closed loop recycling of food contact materials inside and outside the EU were obliged to file a petition at the EFSA to demonstrate the food safety (i.e decontamination efficiency for potentially present contaminants originating from use or mis-use). The EFSA received so many petitions from all over Europe that thus far no opinions were given. In this particular case a petition prepared by TNO was the first to obtain a positive opinion from the EFSA.

It concerned a study on a Closed Loop recycling operation of Polyproylene RPC crates operated by CHEP, a European Pallet and Container Pool. The recycling operation is organized by the Dutch Recycling company Morssinkhof Plastics.

The crates intended for food contact were investigated by means of the Forest Of Peak (FOP) approach. This analytical approach, that was developed by TNO, allows a food safety evaluation of polymer related degradation and other unknown chemicals present in recycled materials.

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