ASEAN Regional Integration Support from the EU

Workshop on Specific Measures for Plastics Food Contact Materials (FCMs)

The ASEAN Committee on Harmonisation of Prepared Foodstuff Standards (ACHPFS) held a 2 days workshop on the harmonisation of measures implemented for ensuring safety of plastics materials used in food packaging which come into contact with foodstuffs. The workshop held on 22nd & 23rd November 2022 is a continuation of its programme of ensuring food safety with regard to materials and articles that come into contact with food.

The current work is a follow-up to adoption the ASEAN General Guidelines on Food Contact Materials in 2019. The ACHPFS has since 2019, planned a phased programme of harmonising requirements for all major materials. The work on plastics food contact materials follows on from the recently completed ASEAN Guidelines on Specific Measures for Ceramic Articles Intended to Come into Contact with Foodstuffs and is the second specific material that ACHPFS has focussed on.

ARISE Plus experts supported this workshop and twenty nine (29) officials representing ASEAN Member States food safety regulators participated in the discussions. The ASEAN officials were briefed on measures adopted by the EU and other prominent global economies in addressing safety concerns with regard to minimising hazardous materials migrating into food from the various of plastics used in the food industry. The ASEAN officials additionally exchanged information and views on the existing measures implemented by national food safety regulators.

The ASEAN Officials discussed potential approaches that ASEAN could adopt to harmonise regulatory systems. It was noted that a majority of ASEAN Member states are in an early stage of introducing controls for plastics used in food industry and that the establishment of a uniform approach provides a timely opportunity for longer term harmonisation for regulating plastics food contact materials in ASEAN.

This workshop requested that ARISE Plus assist in developing a document containing key elements with a harmonised approach. This will serve as a basis for further discussions in a follow-up workshop that is planned to be held in early 2023.

ARISE Plus has been assisting the ASEAN Committee on Harmonisation of Prepared Foodstuff Standards (ACHPFS) in developing a range of harmonised food safety measures . It is expected that such guidelines will be transformed to regional requirements under the ASEAN Food Safety Regulatory Framework Agreement (AFSRFA).

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