Its obvious that paper is not bamboo. But the recent joint decision of the consumer protection agencies of the three Benelux countries to ban food and beverage tableware made of bamboo-melamine combinations should send a shock wave around Europe’s foodservice sector, including makers, distributors and users of paper drinking straws.
The message is simple – “Don’t take risks with consumer safety!”
The Benelux countries said that the bamboo-melamine combo is not compliant with EU laws on food contact materials and, therefore, that these products should not be put on the market. The implicit message for any item, made of any material(s), used for serving food and drinks is clear: it is essential to meet the food contact material requirements in Europe to be safe for consumers.
This applies equally to the paper drinking straw, a complex new product introduced to the EU market to replace plastics straws*. Distributors, retailers and users of paper drinking straws must be sure that the straws they trade or use do not put consumers at risk.
To meet this need - and the expectations of Europe’s health and safety-conscious consumers, shaken by the Covid-19 pandemic - a group of enterprising manufacturers in the EU and their supply chain partners have focused on identifying and meeting all the relevant regulatory requirements for compliant, safe paper drinking straws.
They have catalogued these requirements in a brand new Charter of Trust for Paper Drinking Straws, managed by industry body 360° Foodservice, that will be publicly launched on 24 March [Register here].
The Charter of Trust is a guarantee of quality - and above all of safety – to which leading manufacturers are committing. Other manufacturers are urged to do the same. Distributors, retailers and users of paper drinking straws can also join the initiative. To make it easier to recognise compliant paper drinking straws in the market, a registered Trust Mark will soon follow and will be available under license from 360° Foodservice for companies and products that meet the terms and conditions.
During the 24 March launch event, the Charter of Trust will be presented along with plans to promote it to the market and to surveillance and enforcement authorities. The aim is to ensure only compliant and, therefore, safe products are placed on the EU market.
* Because of marine litter concerns, plastics drinking straws are banned all across Europe by the EU single use products directive as of 3 July this year.