In late July 2023, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) upheld its initial denial of a citizen petition seeking to ban phthalate chemicals used in plastic for food packaging.

The health regulator has maintained its original denial, indicating that the current approved usage of nine phthalates in food packaging production will remain unchanged.

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A previous industry petition from the Flexible Vinyl Alliance (FVA) removed 25 phthalates from authorised use due to lack of use and kept authorisations for five.

At the time, the FDA stated: “based on the information currently available to FDA, we do not have a basis to conclude that dietary exposure levels from approved orthophthalates exceed a safe level.”

The FVA is a coalition of trade organisations, materials suppliers, compounders, formulators, moulders and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) fabricators. The alliance provides messaging and information on the safety, economy and utility of flexible PVC, a material regularly used in packaging applications. FVA is an affiliate of the Society of Chemical Manufacturers and Affiliates (SOCMA).

What is the FVA’s reaction to the FDA’s upheld decision?

FVA executive director Kevin Ott commented: “We are pleased that FDA has again relied on the most up-to-date data on these substances, including data provided by FVA members, in their evaluation of phthalates, minimally used in food contact.

“Beginning many years ago, industry permanently moved on to manufacturing next generation substances for food packaging that are supported by science and demonstrate safety. We will ensure the safe use of these materials in accordance with ongoing FDA food contact regulations.”

The alliance continues to advocate for the use of phthalates and their safety.