California has approved measures to regulate PFAS in food contact materials and articles derived from plant fibers as well as requiring information for cookware. The provisions in the new law will be implemented in phases, starting January 1, 2023.

SAFEGUARDS | HardgoodsNO. 140/21

 SG 14021 Board Food Packaging

On October 5, 2021, the governor of the US state of California signed AB 1200 into law to restrict PFAS in plant-based food packaging and require the disclosure of a designated list of chemicals in cookware. The new law adds new Chapter 15 ‘Chemicals of Concern in Food Packaging and Cookware’ (commencing with Section 109000) to the state’s Health and Safety Code in Part 3 of Division 104, relating to product safety.  

According to the definitions in the new law, ‘Food packaging’, ‘PFAS’, ‘Cookware’ and ‘Designated list’ have the following meaning:

  • Perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances or PFAS means a family of fluorinated organic chemicals containing at least one fully fluorinated carbon atom
  • Food packaging means a nondurable package, packaging component, or food service ware that is substantially comprised of paper, paperboard, or other materials originally derived from plant fibers. It includes eating utensils, food boxes, food or beverage containers, liners, serving vessels, straws, take-out food containers, unit product boxes, wrappers and disposable plates, bowls, or trays  
  • Cookware means durable houseware items that are used in homes and restaurants to prepare, dispense, or store food, foodstuffs, or beverages. These include baking molds, baking sheets, bowls, grills, pans, pots, skillets, trays and cooking utensils
  • Designated list means the list of chemicals identified as candidate chemicals that exhibit a hazard trait, or an environmental or toxicological endpoint that meets the criteria in regulations adopted by the Department of Toxic Substances Control pursuant to Article 14 (commencing with Section 25251) of Chapter 6.5 of Division 20, and is published on the DTSC’s internet website

Highlights of the new law are summarized in Table 1.

California AB 1200 (Chapter 503) 2021-2022 Session
Plant-Based Food Packaging: Cookware: Hazardous chemicals 

Substance

Scope

Requirement

Effective Date

PFAS

Food packaging substantially made of paper, paperboard, or derived from plant fibers

Prohibited if either intentionally added that has a functional or technical effect, or ≥ 100 ppm (as total organic fluorine)

January 1, 2023

Designated list of chemicals 

In handle of cookware or any cookware surface that comes into contact with food, foodstuffs or beverages

Posting of information on internet website for cookware listing for online sales1

January 1, 2023

List their presence on product label2,3

January 1, 2024

1All of the following is required to be posted – a) list of chemicals in the cookware that are also in the designated list, b) names of the authoritative list(s) referenced by DTSC in compiling the designated list on which each chemical is present and c) link to internet website for the authoritative list(s) in point b

2Must be introduced by the phrase ‘This product contains:’ and include a statement, in both English and Spanish, that reads ‘For more information about chemicals in this product, visit’ followed by both of the following: a) an internet website address or a web page that provides all of the information in note 1 above and b) a quick response (QR) code or other machine-readable code, consisting of an array of squares, used for storing an internet website for a web page that provides all of the information in note 1 above 

3Cookware meeting both of the following is exempt from product label: a) the surface area of the cookware is less than 2 square inches, b) the cookware does not have i) an exterior container or wrapper on which a product label can appear or be affixed or ii) a tag or other attachment with information about the product attached to the cookware 

Table 1

SGS technical experts have extensive knowledge and testing experience in materials and articles in contact with food. They work to ensure that your products meet the appropriate regulations for food contact materials, paving the way for compliance. From overall migration tests to expert advice on emerging regulations, compliance issues and documentation review, SGS is the partner to trust. In the end, it’s only trusted because it’s tested. Discover more on our website and read our brochure.  

For inquiries, please contact:

Dr. Hingwo Tsang
Global Information and Innovation Manager
t: (+852) 2774 7420

Stay on top of regulatory changes within your industry: subscribe to SafeGuardS!

Read more articles for the Consumer Goods and Retail industry

© SGS Group Management SA - 2021 - All rights reserved - SGS is a registered trademark of SGS Group Management SA. This is a publication of SGS, except for 3rd parties’ contents submitted or licensed for use by SGS. SGS neither endorses nor disapproves said 3rd parties contents. This publication is intended to provide technical information and shall not be considered an exhaustive treatment of any subject treated. It is strictly educational and does not replace any legal requirements or applicable regulations. It is not intended to constitute consulting or professional advice. The information contained herein is provided “as is” and SGS does not warrant that it will be error-free or will meet any particular criteria of performance or quality. Do not quote or refer any information herein without SGS’s prior written consent.