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Food Packaging Forum

Food packaging is an important issue – not only for the environment, but also for humans. The Sympany Foundation supports the Food Packaging Forum in its efforts to reduce the health impact of packaging.

Food packaging is literally on everyone’s lips:

  • One reason for this is that there has been a huge increase in awareness of the pollution caused by plastic packaging waste.
  • What is more, the chemicals contained in normal food packaging can migrate from the packaging to the food and then enter the digestive system in this way.

This fact may not be very well known, but it has been the subject of scientific research for over 40 years. What has not been sufficiently studied, however, are the health consequences of this daily, lifelong exposure to chemicals migrating from food packaging.

Some chemicals are known to contribute to the development of certain chronic diseases, such as cancer, diabetes and infertility. However, there is no systematic overview of all chemicals contained in food packaging and their potentially harmful effects on human health – although this would be an important first step in preventing harmful chemical exposure in everyday life.

Putting the spotlight on food packaging: chemicals and migration, biomonitoring, health impact

A research project run by the Food Packaging Forum is dedicated to this topic. Pursuing a systematic, scientific approach, the non-profit foundation provides an overview of existing knowledge on the topic of chemicals in food packaging, migration and the exposure of humans to packaging chemicals. This includes a database published in November 2020 of all the chemicals that can be used in the manufacture of food packaging and other materials that come into contact with food. A list has also been collated of 608 chemicals that should be avoided in food packaging because of their toxicity.

The Food Packaging Forum team is currently working on a database of all chemicals that can be shown to migrate from materials that come into contact with food or can be extracted from them.

The next step to be undertaken by the research team will be to compile a systematic overview of all packaging chemicals that have been detected in human beings (“biomonitoring”). After this, a compilation will be drawn up of the health effects caused by packaging chemicals to which people are known to be regularly exposed.

In this way, the Food Packaging Forum is creating a public database of existing knowledge and highlighting the relevant gaps in this knowledge. This information will then serve as the basis for further research and go towards preventing avoidable, harmful chemical exposure that could lead to chronic disease.

The Sympany Foundation supported the Food Packaging Forum in the years 2020 to 2023.