Food contact materials

Food contact materials

What are food contact materials?

Food contact materials comprise all materials and articles that come or are intended to come in contact with food, e.g. food packaging materials, kitchen utensils, tableware and food processing equipment. They can be made of different materials such as plastics, rubber, silicones, metals, ceramics, glass, paper and board, wood, cork, textiles, adhesives, coatings and printing inks.

Why are food contact materials important for us?

Food contact materials play an important role in our food supply chain. Food packaging protects food against chemical and microbial deterioration during storage and transportation. We use kitchen utensils and food processing equipment for the preparation of our food and we use tableware and cutlery to consume our food.

Why regulating food contact materials at European Union level?

Food contact materials (FCM) are not chemically inert. They may release very small amounts of substances into food. Therefore legislation establishes which substances manufacturers may use for the production of food contact materials and what their restrictions, e.g. migration limits, are. Harmonised rules on the chemical safety of food contact materials at EU level help both to protect consumers' health and to remove technical barriers to trade within the European single market. Our role is to support European policy makers in the development and implementation of EU legislation on food contact materials from a scientific and technical perspective and to run the European Union Reference Laboratory for Food Contact Materials (EURL-FCM).

 

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