Maine Toxics in Food Packaging Program

In June 2019, Public Law c. 277 [Toxic Chemicals In Food Packaging, LD 1433, 128th Legislature] was signed into law adding Chapter 26-B to the already established Act To Protect the Environment and Public Health by Further Reducing Toxic Chemicals in Packaging (32 MRSA §§1731-1747). This new law includes a chemical listing process for the purposes of assessing the chemicals currently used in food packaging and replacing those chemicals with safer alternatives when they are available.

In order to reduce the toxicity of packaging material, existing law prohibits the use of certain chemicals in packaging sold in the State, such as lead, mercury, cadmium, and hexavalent chromium. In addition to the prohibition on those chemicals, new sections of this law have been added that effect which chemicals can be used in food packaging.

New Phthalates

Starting January 1, 2022, food packaging sold in Maine cannot contain intentionally introduced amounts of phthalates. Food packaging includes packaging that contains a food or beverage product, and plastic disposable gloves. A manufacturer, supplier, or distributor subject to this phthalate prohibition must also provide a certificate of compliance to the Department affirming that they meet the requirements of this section of law.

Certificate of Compliance

An acceptable certificate of compliance is a statement signed by a senior manager with authority to speak on behalf of the organization which states that the food packaging being sold in Maine after January 1, 2022, does not contain any intentionally introduced amounts of phthalates. This statement must be submitted directly to the program contact at DEP via U.S. Postal Service or electronically through email.

New Chemicals of High Concern List

New sections of law also require the Department to publish a list of no more than 10 food contact Chemicals Of High Concern which will help the Department gather information on the current use of those chemicals in food packaging (32 MRSA, Chapter 26-B). This draft list is available for public comment. Comment deadline: 5:00 PM, March 10, 2021.

Please sign up for Department notifications for opportunities to provide comment during the public comment period or check here for updates.

For more information, contact Kerri Malinowski at 207-215-1894.