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Australia Publishes Guide on Categorizing Chemicals for Food-Contact Articles

New chemical regulation Australian Industrial Chemicals Introduction Scheme (AICIS) came in force in Australia from 1st July 2020 and to enable the compliance with the new requirement of AICIS, Australian Department of Health (DOH) has published a guidance for importers and manufacturers specifically for those chemicals which are used in food-contact articles.

Food contact materials like food wrapping, food containers, coatings on the inside of food cans, and coatings on the inside of water storage tanks are covered in this guidance document however chemicals that are used in non-food contact materials like side of glass or metal articles, or ones used in cardboard that does not directly contact food are considered exempted from the AICIS requirement.

As per this guidance document food contact material can be categorised as “exempted,” “reported,” or “assessed”. Record keeping requirements for exempted and reported chemicals those are used in food contact materials are also clearly mentioned in the guidance.

Australia New Chemical Regulation – AICIS came in force

In Australia, new scheme the Australian Industrial Chemicals Introduction Scheme (AICIS) replaced 30 year old National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme (NICNAS) on 1st July 2020. This new scheme regulates the introduction i.e. manufacture and import of industrial chemicals in Australia. It is advisable for companies to understand the new requirements and different categories for new introductions to comply with the new Scheme.  

The aim of new scheme is to protect the health of Australian population and environment, while also keeping industry competitive and promoting access to safer chemicals. 

Key Changes from 1st July 2020: 

  • There will be 6 categories of introduction with different regulatory requirements that are proportionate to the likely level of risk 

  • Lower risk chemical introductions will have streamlined introduction pathways, resulting in reduced regulatory burden for industry. 

  • There will be improved protections for the public, workers, and the environment towards higher risk chemicals. 

  • Improved approaches to reviewing chemicals on the market. 

  • There will be increased focus on pre and post-introduction evaluation and monitoring of chemicals.  

  • Restriction on the use of animal test data for supporting the introduction of ingredients used in cosmetics.