Specific EU policy initiatives

Specific EU policy initiatives

Evaluation and revision of EU rules on FCMs

A revision of the overall EU legislation on FCMs was announced in May 2020 as part of the European Commission’s Farm to Fork Strategy for a fair, healthy and environmentally-friendly food system. The revision will be based on the findings of the ongoing FCM Evaluation, which started in 2018 and is also linked to other key strategies, including the Circular Economy Action Plan (CEAP) and the Chemicals Strategy for sustainability towards a toxic-free environment. For more information, please click here.

Ceramic and vitreous FCMs

Separately from the main revision of the EU FCM legislation, the Commission is specifically revising rules concerning heavy metals present in ceramic and vitreous FCMs, which include tableware and kitchenware such as plates, cups, mugs, glasses, jugs, bowls and oven trays. Vitreous materials include glass, crystal and materials with a glazed coating such as enamelled metals. However, recent scientific evidence and enforcement data indicate that the current exposure to lead, cadmium, and several other metals: aluminium, arsenic, barium, cobalt, chromium and nickel, released from FCMs is of concern. In addition, there is information showing that such metals also transfer from vitreous FCMs. Therefore, based on current health data including opinions published by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), the Commission is considering lowering the limits of lead, cadmium and introducing limits for aluminium, arsenic, barium, cobalt, chromium and nickel, allowed to transfer from ceramic and vitreous FCMs. Further information on this initiative can be found here.

Recycling of plastic for FCM

Since 2008 legislation on the placing of the market of recycled plastic intended for contact with food has been in place. Presently, recycled plastic may be placed on the market subject to National rules, but the Regulation requires the Commission to decide on the authorisation of suitable recycling processes following the publication of EFSA opinions on their ability to manufacture safe recycled plastic. In order to provide necessary clarification, including obligations on the operation of the processes, administration, enforcement as well as providing clear legal provisions that fully acknowledge types of plastic other than PET that may be recycled, an amendment to Regulation 282/2008 will be introduced in 2021. Thereafter, the Commission will provide authorisation decisions for PET plastic notified to applicants together with the publication of Register of authorisation holders, recyclers and recycling sites. The Commission is continuously consulting with the involved stakeholder associations and with the Member States on the implementation of this legislation. The Commission must also ensure that the legislation adequately supports the objectives of the Commissions plastic strategy.

Amendments to Commission Regulation (EU) No 10/2011

Implementation of this Regulation is ongoing and regular updates are made, including the addition of new substances authorised for the use in manufacture of plastic FCMs, following an assessment by EFSA. In addition, amendments are made concerning authorisation of existing substances, reflecting new assessments; revision of SMLs and other restrictions, testing and compositional requirements and changes to the Declaration of Compliance (DoC). The Commission is currently working on the next amendment with future amendments planned. Further information may be found concerning ongoing and future planned amendments via presentations made available on the FCM Document Library. A link to the amendments that are adopted and published in the Official Journal can be found on the Legislation page.