The US state of Maine has enacted an amendment to Title 32 of the Maine Revised Statutes entitled, ‘An Act to Protect the Environment and Public Health by Further Reducing Toxic Chemicals in Packaging’.
Signed by the governor on June 13, 2019, the bill – L.D. 1433 – revises Chapter 26-A ‘Reduction of Toxics in Packaging’ and adds a new section, Chapter 26-B ‘Toxic Chemicals in Food Packaging’.
Chapter 26-A revisions include:
- Scope of four heavy metal restrictions expanded (≤ 100 ppm for the sum of lead, cadmium, mercury and chromium (VI)) and includes prohibition on phthalates in food packages
- Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) authorized to prohibit perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS chemicals) in food packaging by rule if safer alternatives are determined to be available
- New ‘Food package’ definition – a package that is designed to be in direct contact with food, including a food or beverage product that is contained in a food package or to which a food package is applied, a packaging component of a food package and plastic disposable gloves used in commercial or institutional food service
- ‘Incidental presence’ definition amended – the presence of a regulated metal or other regulated chemical as an unintended or undesired ingredient of a package or packaging component
- Some food or beverage product manufacturers exempted from the prohibition on phthalates and PFAS chemicals
- Manufacturers subject to the prohibition on phthalates and PFAS chemicals in food packages must develop a certificate of compliance (CoC)
Chapter 26-B contains, inter alia:
- DEP must publish a list of no more than 10 food contact chemicals of high concern (FCCHCs)
- Commissioner of Environmental Protection (CEP) directed to evaluate the FCCHC list at least every three years and a maximum of 10 FCCHCs may be added per evaluation
- CEP authorized to designate an FCCHC as a priority food contact chemical (PFCC) for reporting purposes
- Manufacturers and distributors of food packages containing a PFCC required to report to the DEP if a PFCC is intentionally added and is greater than the practical quantification limit (PQL) or as a contaminant that is greater than 100 ppm (de minis level)
- Board of Environmental Protection’s (BEP’s) authority expanded to adopt rules for the prohibition of food packages containing a PFCC that requires reporting if safer alternatives are available. By rule adoption, the date of prohibition must be at least two years after notice of the proposed rule
- Manufacturers or distributors of food packages containing a PFCC subject to the prohibition required to file a compliance plan with the CEP, or seek a waiver for specific uses, within 180 days of the prohibition
Stakeholders should be aware the scope of bill includes food packaging and disposable plastic food service gloves. The prohibition on phthalates comes into effect on January 1, 2022, and the prohibition on PFAS chemicals will be effective on the same date if a safer alternative is available. If not, the date will be two years after the safer alternative is identified.
Both requirements are exempt if the total annual national sales of the food and beverage product inside the packaging is less than USD 1,000,000,000.
Stakeholders are advised to now check their products comply with the latest regulations in the state of Maine.
SGS Food Contact Material Services
SGS’s technical experts are highly experienced in the testing of materials and articles that will come into contact with food. Utilizing SGS’s global network of testing laboratories, they will ensure products meet the appropriate regulations for food contact materials and pave the way for compliance. They offer the full range of testing, including migration tests, along with expert advice on emerging regulations, compliance issues and documentation review. Learn more about SGS’s Food Contact Material Services.
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