By Little Pro on 2017-05-02 Views: Update:2017-06-05
In EU, Framework Regulation (EC) No 1935/2004 sets out general safety requirements for all food contact materials. In addition, specific measures have been introduced to plastics, recycled plastics, regenerated cellulose film, ceramics and active and intelligent materials at EU level. For other types of food contact materials (i.e, coatings, adhesives, and paper) for which there is no specific EU measures, a majority of EU Member States have set their own national provisions on food contact materials and substances. In this article, we will give you a quick introduction to the national legislation on food contact materials and articles in EU and how to find references. Council of Europe (CoE), Norden, Germany, France, Netherlands, Italy, Spain, and Belgium are covered.
Note: A majority of info in this article is based on a 329-page JRC report on non-harmonised food contact materials in the EU: Regulatory and market situation (updated in 2017). We only try to make the original report easier to read.
Many Member States (MS), the Council of Europe (CoE) and Norden have set material-specific measures and/or standards for food contact materials for which there is no specific measures at EU level. Those measures or standards usually take the form of lists of authorised substances with restrictions based on migration limits (SML or OML) or compositional limits. The table below summarizes the distribution of countries with measures or national standards specific to the different types of food contact materials (adapted from page 54 of the JRC report).
|Material||Positive List||SML or OML||Substance Quantity in Material (QM)|
|Adhesives||DE, ES, FR, HR, IT, NL||ES, HR||DE, ES, FR, HR, NL|
|Cork||CoE, CZ, FR, NL, SK||CoE, CZ, NL, SK, HR||CoE, SK, NL|
|Glass||BE, (IT), SK||BE, BG, CH, CoE, CZ, DE, DK, FR, HR, IT, NL, NO, SK||FR, (NL)|
|Ion exchange resins||CoE, ES, FR, NL||CoE, ES, NL||CoE, ES, FR|
|Metals and alloys||CZ, EL, FR, IT, NL, SK||AT,(CH), CoE, FR, HR, IT, NL, NO, Norden||AT, BE, CH, CoE, CZ, EL, FR, HR, IT, NL, SK|
|Multimaterials||FR, IT, Norden||FR, IT||FR, IT, Norden|
|Paper and Board||BE, CoE, CZ, DE, (EL), FR, IT, NL, Norden, SK||BE, CoE, DE, EE, FR, HR, IT, NL, Norden, PL, SK||BE, CoE, DE, EE, FR, HR, IT, NL, Norden, PL, SK|
|Printing inks||CH, CoE, DE_draft, FR, NL, SK||CH, CoE, DE, (DE_draft), FR, NL||CH, CoE, CZ, FR, (HR), NL, RO, SK|
|Rubber||CoE, CZ, DE, ES, FR, HR, IT, NL, SK||AT, CoE, CZ, DE, ES, FR, HR, NL, RO, SK||AT, CoE, CZ, DE, ES, FR, HR, IT, NL, SK|
|Silicones||CH, CoE, CZ, DE, ES, FR, HR, IT||CH, CoE, CZ, DE, ES, FR, IT||CH, CoE, CZ, DE, ES, FR, IT|
|Varnishes and coatings||CoE, CZ, DE, EL, ES, FR, HR, IT, NL, SK||BE_draft, CH, CoE, CZ, DE, EL, ES, FR, HR, IT, NL||BE_draft, CoE, CZ, DE, EL, ES, FR, IT, NL, SK|
|Wax||DE, ES, (FR), NL||ES||CH, DE, ES, (FR), NL|
|Wood||FR, NL||FR, HR, NL||FR|
Please note that the CoE or Norden are 2 important inter-governmental organizations in EU. Their introduction is listed as follows:
The Council of Europe(CoE) has established general recommendations for various types of food contact materials (i.e, coatings and inks). Specific requirements such as positive lists and restriction conditions are set in the Appendixes of the CoE resolutions. The resolutions are not legally binding before they are transferred into national law. To access the full texts of those CoE resolutions, please click the links below.
The Belgian Scientific Institute for Public Health is managing a database of substances known by the member states of the Council of Europe (CoE) and used in Food Contact Materials (FCM). The CoE FCM database is accessible for public bodies and enterprises on a yearly subscription basis. More info about the database can be found here.
Norden has published a series of guidelines with requirements on in-house control and the documentation for the assurance of compliance with nordic food contact legislation. To access the full texts of those guidelines, please click the links below.
German BfR has issued recommendations on the health assessment of food contact materials since 1958. The BfR Recommendations are not legal norms. However, they do represent the current state of the scientific and technical knowledge for the conditions under which food contact articles made of silicones, paper, and rubber meet the requirements of § 31, para 1, German Food and Feed Code (Lebensmittel-, Bedarfsgegenstände- und Futtermittelgesetzbuch, LFGB) as well as those of Article 3, para 1 a of the Regulation (EC) No 1935/2004 in respect to their health safety.
The list of authorized food contact substances are included in various chapters of the BfR recommendations. They can be found in the following database.
It should be noted that the BfR Recommendations only contain those substances for which there are no harmonised EU regulations yet. In the field of plastics, polymer aids such as catalysts and initiators not covered the EU plastics regulation are included.
The French national specific measures concern the following food contact materials:
Other specific measures concerning food contact materials are in force:
More info can be found here.
In Italy, the national regulation Decreto Ministeriale of 21 March 1973 (latest amendment in 2015) has set detailed requirements on various food contact materials such as plastics, paper, rubber, stainless steel, etc. You may click the following link to dowload the decree and its amendment in Italian.
In the Netherlands, Part A of the Dutch Commodities Act Regulation on Packaging and Consumer Articles Coming into Contact with Foodstuffs (latest amendment in 2016) has set a list of authorized substances, restriction limits and other requirements for 12 types of food contact material and articles: plastics, paper & cardboards, rubber, metals, glass & glass ceramics, ceramics & enamels, textiles, regenerated cellulose films, wood & corks, coatings, colorants & pigments and epoxy polymers.
In Spain, the national regulation Real Decreto 847/2011 has to be met for various food contact materials like rubber, adhesives, and coatings.
In Belgium, the main legislation regulating food-contact materials and articles the Royal Decree of 11 May 1992 and its amendment. This law also sets specific requirements for certain food-contact materials such as glass, metal and alloys, paper and board, varnishes and coatings.
After reading so many national food contact regulations in EU, you may wonder do I have to meet the requirements of every national food contact regulation in addition to complying with the EU level legislation in order to sell my product in EU? The answer is no. To understand how this works, you need to know the principles of mutual recognition and safeguard measures.