I. General 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 1935/2004 was amended by Regulation (EU) 2019/1381 on 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.

II. 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.

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Plastic Materials

Active and Intelligent Materials

Recycled Plastic Materials


Regenerated Cellulose Film

III. Other EU Legislation

Legislation on Specific Substances

Products originating or consigned from China or Hong Kong

From 1 July 2011 kitchenware made of melamine or polyamide originating or consigned from China or Hong Kong must comply with the import rules of Commission Regulation (EU) No 284/2011:

  • Consignments must be notified to the competent authorities at the entry points at least 2 working days before arrival

  • Consignments must have a declaration and a laboratory report on the analysis of primary aromatic amines (for polyamide) and formaldehyde (for melamine).

Coordinated control plan

Commission Recommendation (EU) 2019/794 of 15 May 2019 sets out a coordinated control plan with a view to establishing the prevalence of certain substances migrating from materials and articles intended to come into contact with food. Controls done by the Member States will take place during the latter half of 2019 with reporting of results at the beginning of 2020.

IV. National Legislation

In the absence of specific EU measures, EU Member State countries may maintain or adopt their own national provisions on FCMs in accordance with Article 6 of Regulation 1935/2004. National legislation is in place in the majority of EU Member States, setting out individual ruleson different materials and substances. These may differ from one Member State to another.

The European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) published a study in 2017, which provides a comprehensive description of the current situation concerning FCMs for which there are no specific measures at EU level. The study provides detailed information on the current national measures or other measures in place for these materials.