Certain legislation on Food Contact Materials (FCM), such as the Regulation on plastic materials and articles, provides for listing of substances. Once these are listed they are permitted for use taking account of restrictions and specifications. Through this listing, these substances hence become 'authorised'. The authorisation process consists of the following key steps:

  • A business operator who wants to use the substance will prepare a dossier following the guidance provided by EFSA. See also EFSAs applications workflow. Further information can be obtained from EFSAs applications helpdesk.

  • The business operator sends this dossier with a request for authorisation to one of the competent authorities of the Member States. National contacts for applications for authorisation of substances to be used in food contact materials and applications for authorisation of recycling processes to produce recycled plastic

  • Via the Member State, EFSA receives the dossier. If the dossier is valid, EFSA will evaluate it, and provide an opinion on the safety of that substance taking account of its intended use

  • The Commission will as risk manager use the published opinion as basis for deciding on its authorisation.

Further information on authorised substances can be found in the applicable legislation and is also summarised in the online database of FCMs.

For recycled plastics a similar procedure is in place for the authorisation of recycling processes

Before 2002 the Scientific Committee on Food evaluated scientific and technical questions concerning consumer health and food safety associated with the consumption of food products and in particular questions relating to toxicology and hygiene in the entire food production chain, nutrition, and applications of agrifood technologies, as well as those relating to materials coming into contact with foodstuffs, such as packaging. Please refer to 'Reports' and 'Outcome of Decisions' of the Scientific Committee on Food.