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SPI cries foul over FDA food-contact funding

March 16, 2006

2 Min Read
SPI cries foul over FDA food-contact funding

To fight a funding loss that would eliminate the U.S. FDA''s Food Contact Notification (FCN) program, the Society of the Plastic Industry (SPI; Washington, DC) has reconvened the Food Packaging Industry Coalition. The Bush administration wants to transfer currently allocated funds for the FDA program in fiscal year 2007 to cover other programs such as avian flu prevention and bioterrorism.

The coalition, which is made up of Fortune 500 companies and small businesses, will lobby representatives in Congress to restore the $6 million needed for the FCN. "In this mid-term election year, the loss of this program would present an impediment to new job creation as well as stifle America''s ability to innovate and compete in the global marketplace," says Susan Howe, executive director of SPI''s Food Drug and Cosmetic Packaging Materials committee. "[It would] be detrimental to manufacturers seeking clearance for new food-contact materials to be introduced in the U.S. marketplace and other countries."

Enacted in 2000, the FCN program was developed cooperatively by the FDA, Congress, and industry. The FCN program allows U.S. manufacturers to develop new products such as plastic films and containers that protect food and improve shelf life. Howe says the ability to bring new materials to market fast results in government efficiency along with a stronger economy and job creation. FCN becomes effective within 120 days of filing, unless the FDA considers the submission incomplete or objects to the notification.

If the program is eliminated, she says new food-contact substances and new uses of existing food-contact materials that do not qualify for an exemption from review will need to be cleared through the food-additive petition process, which can take up to five years. "If industry were forced to rely solely on petitions, the delay would severely impact the innovation of new and safer food packaging materials," she says.

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