Nordic recommendations for fluorinated substances in food packaging

Friday 04 May 18


Gitte Alsing Pedersen
Senior adviser
National Food Institute
+45 35 88 74 73

The National Food Institute, Technical University of Denmark, has summarized recommendations from the Nordic countries for risk management of fluorinated substances in food packaging made from paper and board.

Fluorinated substances are synthetically produced chemicals which repel water, oil and dirt. For this reason they are used in paper and board food packaging, where their function is to make the packaging water and grease repellent. The substances are highly resistant and bioaccumulate in both humans and the environment. Some of the substances are known to be harmful to health.

People are mainly exposed to fluorinated substances through their environmental pollution of foods, but food contact materials can also be a source.

Recommendations with input from across the Nordic region

The Technical University of Denmark and the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration, DVFA, organized a Nordic workshop on fluorinated substances in 2015. Based on this workshop, researchers at the National Food Institute have published a report for the Nordic Council of Ministers.

The report gathers the existing knowledge of fluorinated substances in paper and board food contact materials, as well as the options for reducing the consumer risk of exposure to fluorinated substances from food packaging, which were discussed at the workshop.

The participants concluded that the most obvious option for authorities in the Nordic countries is to set a limit on total organic fluorine in paper and board food contact materials.

Based on these recommendations, the DVFA set a guidance value on total organic fluorine in 2015. In April 2018 the DVFA replaced it with an indicator value, which is based on new knowledge   generated by the National Food Institute on the background level of fluorinated substances in paper and board packaging.

Read more

Read the entire report: PFAs in paper and board for food contact. Options for risk management in poly- and perfluorinated substances (pdf).
24 OCTOBER 2021