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Chemicals in Food Contact Materials

Food packaging, factory equipment, food utensils – almost everything we eat has been in contact with one or more of these items, which are classified in EU law as ‘Food Contact Materials’ (FCMs).

Chemicals used in FCM materials are regulated at EU level by a “Framework Regulation” which requires that FCMs “do not transfer their constituents to food in quantities which could endanger human health”.

However, beyond this general safety requirement, some materials like plastics are regulated more precisely by EU rules, others – such as paper and card, inks, coatings and adhesives – are not covered by a specific EU regulation.

In CHEM Trust’s view, the lack of EU harmonised rules on many food contact materials and other holes in the system – including the continued use of substances of very high concern in food packaging – means that public health is not properly protected. We first highlighted this issue in July 2014, and since then we have made progress in highlighting the problems – but there is a long way to go before they will be solved.

CHEM Trust’s contributions on this issue have included:

You can read all our blogs on chemicals in food packaging and other food contact materials here.

More information on chemicals in food contact materials is available from the Food Packaging Forum.