Since January 2011, many changes have been implemented in the EU legislation regarding materials and articles intended to come into contact with foods.

EU Food contact materials, including packaging and kitchen ware, need to comply with Framework Regulation (EC) 1935/2004 .The regulation requires that food contact materials must not transfer their components into food in quantities that could endanger human health, change food composition in an unacceptable way, or deteriorate the organoleptic characteristics of food. The Regulation also establishes 17 groups of materials (ceramics, plastics, etc) and articles which may be covered by specific measures.

New Regulation on Plastic Materials

Starting May 1st 2011 the new Plastics Implementation Measure (PIM) has come into force. This regulation, (EU) 10/2011, will bring all EU legislation on food contact plastics under one umbrella, replacing, among others, the current Directive 2002/72/EC and the migration testing rules.

The regulation sets:

  • List of authorized monomers and additives for use in plastics manufacture
  • Restrictions and specifications for authorized substances including specific migration limits
  • Rules on non-intentionally added substances i.e. impurities and reaction products
  • Rules on compliance especially migration testing, listing simulants, testing conditions
  • Overall migration limit The concept of functional barrier Authorization for nano-materials before use
  • Declaration of compliance and supporting documentation

Implementation of Reg. (EU) 10/2011:

  • Until 31 Dec 2012: Overall migration and specific migration from Directive 82/711/EEC
  • 1 Jan 2013 to 31 Dec 2015: Overall migration and specific migration from Directive 82/711/EEC or Regulation
  • (EU) 10/2011 (PIM)
  • From 1 Jan 2016: Overall migration and specific migration from Regulation (EU) 10/2011 (PIM)

Importing Rules for Plastic Kitchenware from China and HK

The EU has strengthened importing rules for polyamide (e.g. nylon) and melamine plastic kitchenware from China and Hong Kong. The Regulation (EU) 284/2011 requires the following:

  • A declaration stating that products meet certain specific migration limit requirements
  • Importers to inform customs on estimated date and time of arrival of shipment at least 2 working days in advance
  • Customs will carry out documentary checks on all shipments within 2 working days upon arrival and will perform identification and physical checks, including lab analysis of 10% of shipments
  • Enforcement of requirements for specific migration of primary aromatic amines (PAA s) and formaldehyde in certain food contact plastics

In other EU Countries

New Italian Decree for Food Contact Stainless Steels (June 2011). In Feb. 2011, Italy published Decree 258 with the inclusion of ‘migration of manganese’ for food contact stainless steels. The new Decree also includes an updated list of food contact stainless steels and took effect in Feb. 2011.

How SGS can Help

SGS can advise and assist companies on compliance with the EU Food Contact Regulation. Our experts can assist in setting up a Declaration of Compliance (DoC). SGS has also a global network of laboratories with full food contact testing services. Many food contact materials remain subject to national rules of Member States in non-harmonized areas. SGS Standards and Regulations Services (SRS) can provide you with a list of Member States national legislations that you need to comply with for articles in contact with food. Our tables give three levels of information: regulations, standards, labeling. For more information please contact us.

Laurine Benitah
Key Account Manager Toys & Foodgrade Articles
SGS France
t:+33 1 41 24 89 84

Robina Butt
Standards and Regulations Services
SGS United Kingdom Ltd.
t: +44 1274 367992


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