Food contact materials (FCM) play an important role in food services in healthcare. They are used in a range of common catering products, including food and beverage containers and cutlery and help ensure the safe delivery of food to patients and staff. There are, however, health and environmental risks from some substances used in FCM - through this webinar we aim to provide an understanding of these issues and present actions to prevent harm.
Current EU regulation on FCM allows potentially hazardous substances to leach or migrate into our food, which can ultimately end up in our bodies. Many of these substances are linked to potential long-term health effects on the nervous, endocrine, and immune systems. When regulations fall short in protecting our health and environment, the healthcare sector can take the lead, addressing the issue within their own facilities and ensuring that FCMs are safe. Leading by example in this way, healthcare organisations can inspire and influence wider change in other sectors.
The rapid increase in the use of disposable plastic products and food packaging not only means that enormous amounts of waste are being generated, but also that monitoring FCMs is becoming more challenging, and the potential human and environmental exposure of such hazardous substances and the associated risks are also increasing.
Although there can be technical challenges in changing healthcare food services and transitioning to safer and more sustainable FCM, many hospitals are already taking steps to reduce their use of FCM containing hazardous chemicals, by minimising the use of single-use items in their food services, and finding safer, reusable alternatives. In this webinar we will hear experiences from two healthcare facilities that are transforming their food services in this way.
HCWH Europe is supporting the Break Free from Plastic campaign #WeChooseReuse to accelerate the normalisation of reuse systems and showcase real solutions in different sectors, including healthcare. Adopting public procurement policies that prioritise reusable and non-toxic products and services such as food packaging, and facilitating reuse on site can be a first step for hospitals to transition to a more circular model, and reduce their plastic consumption and disposal.