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A Focal Point interview with Elizabeth Petro
You can save now by registering online for the seventh annual Focal Point conference, set for October 24 at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. Early bird registration is $300. See below interview for more information about the conference.

Elizabeth Petro is a consumer safety officer with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. At Focal Point 2017, she will present "An overview of FDA's Premarket Safety Review Program for Evaluating Food Contact Substance Notifications."
Previewing her presentation, we asked Petro about her work and some of the regulatory issues in food packaging.

WIST: Please can you tell us a little bit about your role at FDA and how you contribute to informing new rules and laws? 
Elizabeth Petro
Elizabeth Petro: As a Consumer Safety Officer in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's Office of Food Additive Safety, I coordinate the premarket safety review of food contact substances. If a company wants to introduce a new use of a substance in contact with food (for example, a substance that is a component of food packaging) in the United States, before they can introduce the substance into the food supply, they need to notify FDA in a Food Contact Substance Notification (FCN). The FCN submission includes all the information necessary to support the conclusion that the intended use of the food contact substance is safe. As a CSO, I lead an interdisciplinary technical review team, who reviews the submission. If we concur that the intended use is safe, the FCN becomes effective 120 days after we receive it, and the company is then able to market the food contact substance in the United States for that proposed use. If the submission does not include all the information necessary to support the conclusion that the substance is safe for its intended use, then we will ask the company to provide additional information. If the company is unable to provide the necessary information, FDA may object, in which case the unsafe food packaging material is kept out of the food supply. The review team's timely and scientifically sound review results in new legal authorizations for the use of food contact substances in the United States. 
WIST:  What is the single biggest regulatory issue currently impacting food packaging and service ware manufacturers and converters? 
Elizabeth Petro: We at FDA strive to make the FCN review process as smooth as possible. We encourage manufacturers who are considering submitting an FCN or who have questions about the regulatory status of components of food packaging to contact us with their questions at, precisely so that there will not be any unexpected issues during the review of their submissions. 

WIST:  What can delegates expect to take away from the conference after listening to your presentation? 
Elizabeth Petro: Delegates will learn about FDA's regulation of food additives, including components paper-based food packaging and serviceware. They will learn about how to determine whether a substance is already authorized for use as a component of paper-based food packaging and serviceware in the United States, and they will learn tips for a successful submission to authorize a new substance for use as a component of paper-based food packaging and serviceware in the United States.

Attend Focal Point 2017 to hear:  
  • Brand-owner perspectives on paper-based food packaging and serviceware items
  • Insights from leading converting companies about future needs and trends in paper and paperboard packaging
  • Innovations targeting superior performance 
  • End-of-life management practices that improve environmental footprints
  • Regulatory insights on paper-based food packaging and serviceware
Staying overnight in Stevens Point for the conference? We've arranged a room block at the Comfort Suites in Stevens Point, convenient to the University. When booking, call the Stevens Point location directly at 715-341-6000 and tell them you are registering for the Focal Point Conference. Hotel reservation deadline is this Saturday, September 23 to get the group rate of $82 per night plus tax.

Focal Point 2017 Sponsors





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