EU Legislation on Food contact materials
Regarding the European legislation on materials in contact with food, there are two different types:
- general legislation
- legislation on specific materials
General EU legislation
The framework Regulation
Regulation (EC) No 1935/2004 provides a harmonised legal EU framework. It sets out the general principles of safety and inertness for all Food Contact Materials (FCMs).
The principles set out in Regulation (EC) No 1935/2004 require that materials do not:
- Release their constituents into food at levels harmful to human health
- Change food composition, taste and odour in an unacceptable way
Moreover, the framework provides:
- for special rules on active and intelligent materials (they are by their design not inert)
- powers to enact additional EU measures for specific materials (e.g. for plastics)
- the procedure to perform safety assessments of substances used to manufacture FCMs involving the European Food Safety Authority
- rules on labelling including an indication for use (e.g. as a coffee machine, a wine bottle, or a soup spoon) or by reproducing the appropriate symbol. For more information, please refer to the following document on Symbols for labelling food contact materials.
- for compliance documentation and traceability
Regulation (EC) No 1935/2004was amended by Regulation (EU) 2019/1381Son the transparency and sustainability of the EU risk assessment in the food chain amended with effect from 27 March 2021. Further information on the implementation of that Regulation can be found on DG SANTE’s website.
Commission Regulation on Good Manufacturing Practices
Commission Regulation (EC) No 2023/2006 ensures that the manufacturing process is well controlled so that the specifications for FCMs remain in conformity with the legislation:
- premises fit for purpose and staff awareness of critical production stages
- documented quality assurance and quality control systems maintained at the premises, and
- selection of suitable starting materials for the manufacturing process with a view to the safety and inertness of the final articles
Good manufacturing rules apply to all stages in the manufacturing chain of food contact materials, although the production of starting materials is covered by other legislation.
EU legislation on specific materials
In addition to the general legislation, certain FCMs — ceramic materials, regenerated cellulose film, plastics (including recycled plastic), as well as active and intelligent materials — are covered by specific EU measures. There are also specific rules on some starting substances used to produce FCMs.