Scientists Release Consensus Statement on Food Contact Chemicals
Statement of CSPI Senior Scientist Lisa Y. Lefferts
We know that many chemicals can migrate into food from packaging and equipment used to manufacture and process food. Some of these chemicals are known to have hazardous properties (like carcinogenicity, toxicity for reproduction, persistence and bioaccumulation, or endocrine disruption), while the safety of other chemicals has not been adequately assessed.
That’s why I’m glad to be among the 33 international scientists who published today in Environmental Health a scientific consensus statement on food contact chemicals and human health. The consensus statement sends a clear message that the system for protecting consumers from food contact chemicals is broken. In it, we make common sense recommendations. First, we call for elimination of chemical hazards in food contact articles, and development of safer alternatives. We also highlight the need to develop better approaches to assess the health effects from the combinations of chemicals that get into food from packaging and other food contact materials.
The consensus statement should inspire a robust debate among government regulators and scientists, both inside and outside the food industry. There is an urgent need to improve how we assess the safety of chemicals in the equipment and packages that get into the food we all eat every day.