Title: Consumer Perception Studies on the Safety of Food Packaging - Final Report of WP7 of the EU Project "Foodmigrosure" QLK1-CT2002-2390
Publisher: OPOCE
Publication Year: 2008
JRC N°: JRC49410
ISBN: 978-92-79-11162-4
ISSN: 1018-5593
Other Identifiers: EUR 23687 EN
URI: http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC49410
DOI: 10.2788/67868
Type: EUR - Scientific and Technical Research Reports
Abstract: Between March 2003 and September 2006 the FOODMIGROSURE project, contract number QLK-CT2002-2390, was carried out by 9 European project partners with the intention to develop an ¿into-food¿ migration model tool which should enable prediction of mass transfer of constituents from plastics food contact materials into foodstuffs in support of calculations/estimations of the exposure of consumers towards food packaging constituents. A further objective was to investigate the social acceptance of migration modelling versus chemical measurements, and its implications for exposure estimation. This was achieved by several approaches including focus group (as qualitative approach), and questionnaires with a large polling bas as quantitative approach from citizens. A test trial was run on consumer associations and the experiment was then conducted on citizens during a JRC Open Day. Questionnaires and comments were colleted for 700 units which represented about 1400 visitors to the food contact activities. In the last phase, a more specific technical questionnaire was directed to end-user of modelling, which was mailed to a variety of stakeholders such as National Reference Laboratories, commercial laboratories, industries, EFSA, CEN members etc. Globally, people in the overwhelming majority -both for the questionnaire approach and for the focus group approach- felt reassured regarding the safety of packaging simply from the fact that they did not previously know that such research and controls existed. Many citizens also clearly expressed the wish to have this type of research much more visible at the level of both consumer associations and consumers themselves. The responses were echoing quite interestingly between the different approaches directed at consumers/citizens. Although obtained by completely different methodologies, both focus groups and quantitative citizen polling questionnaires showed many similarities even in the specifics. There is a fundamental trust from the public in the scientists to distinguish and understand safety issues. The consumer wants sincerely to be approached and informed by scientists for this reason and is also ready to favour new approaches such as migration modelling if it can be an additional tool for better consumer protection. The benefits of packaging are recognised, and the presence of migrants is considered similarly to the presence of food additives in foods. Modelling is viewed as a additional helping tool to assist the scientist as first and foremost raison d¿être, and was found to have its strongest value as pointing the worst cases that could occur. The consumers or citizens made no mention of environmental or worker health effects benefits. However, the consumer especially in the context of the focus group remarked justly that one needs to be sure that at the root for use of these models are experimental data which demonstrate the applicability of the model.
JRC Directorate:Institute for Health and Consumer Protection Historical Collection

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