United States Mission to the European Union
Foreign Agricultural Service
United States Department Of Agriculture
Last modified: January 31, 2018

Materials in Contact with Foodstuffs

European Parliament and Council Regulation 1935/2004 specifies the main requirements for materials that come into contact with foodstuffs, including active and intelligent packaging.  It also sets out labeling and traceability requirements and the procedure for the authorization of substances through the European Food Safety Authority.  Additional requirements will be proposed in specific measures and will include positive lists of authorized substances and/or materials.  Annex I to Regulation 1935/2004 lists the group of materials for which specific measures may be adopted. Commission Regulation 2023/2006 lays down rules on good manufacturing practice for food contact materials listed in Annex I to Regulation 1935/2004.

To date, specific directives have been developed for vinyl chloride, plastics, recycled plastic materials, regenerated cellulose film, ceramics and the use of certain epoxy derivatives in plastic materials, surface coatings and adhesives. In the case of ceramics, migration limits have been established for two of their constituents, namely lead and cadmium. Materials must bear an indication “for food contact” or the symbol reproduced in Annex II to Regulation 1935/2004Commission Regulation 450/2009 establishes specific rules for active and intelligent packaging.

EFSA has published guidelines on “active and intelligent” substances in food contact materials.