By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
On July 20, 2022, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published a request for information (RFI) to obtain data and information on the use of fluorinated polyethylene for food contact applications. 87 Fed. Reg. 43274. FDA states that it is seeking scientific data and information on current food contact uses of fluorinated polyethylene, consumer dietary exposure that may result from those uses, and the safety of certain per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) that may migrate from fluorinated polyethylene food containers. The purpose of the request is to ensure that FDA has current information to support its review of the use of fluorinated polyethylene containers used in food contact applications to help ensure that this use continues to be safe. According to the RFI, FDA may use submitted information to update dietary exposure estimates and safety assessments for the authorized food contact use of fluorinated polyethylene. Either electronic or written comments and scientific data and information are due October 18, 2022.
The RFI notes that tests performed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found that certain PFAS can form and migrate from some fluorinated high-density polyethylene (HDPE, which is a type of polyethylene) containers into the pesticide within the containers. EPA’s testing was conducted on containers that are not FDA-regulated, specifically containers intended to hold mosquito-controlling pesticides. The RFI states that EPA’s testing raises questions about the potential for PFAS to form and migrate from fluorinated polyethylene containers that are intended for food contact use. As such, FDA is interested in obtaining information on current food uses of fluorinated polyethylene containers, as well as information on current manufacturing processes for these containers and any analytical testing information about substances that may migrate from fluorinated polyethylene containers to food. More information on EPA’s testing is available in our October 4, 2021, blog item.