Food contact materials (FCMs) play an important role in food services in healthcare. There are, however, health and environmental risks associated with certain FCMs, especially single-use items, which are becoming increasingly common.
In our latest publication, Sustainable food contact materials in the European healthcare sector, we have gathered information on the health and environmental risks of commonly used FCMs, including plastics, paper, board, and bio-based materials. We also assess the regulatory shortcomings that enable these risks, and provide recommendations for healthcare food services and policy makers to reduce them.
Featuring four case studies from hospitals in Spain, France and the UK, we offer examples of how to reduce plastic use in healthcare food services and prevent harm from hazardous FCMs. We encourage healthcare food services to adopt FCMs that are safe for both human health and the environment. Though current legislation does not provide sufficient protection and a planned review of EU packaging rules is delayed, the healthcare sector can already take action and play a key role in protecting patients and workers by phasing out unsafe products and wasteful practices currently permitted by weak legislation or loopholes.