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Food Contact Materials

Since 2009, priority has been given to the work on metals and alloys that are used in food contact materials and also in the manufacture of articles in contact with food.

In June 2013, Council of Europe member states adopted Resolution CM/Res(2013)9 on metals and alloys used in food contact materials and articles. A  Technical Guide is now available that presents this Resolution and practical guidelines for its implementation. The guidelines have been agreed amongst national authorities, manufacturers and control laboratories (private and public sector)  and define quality requirements for materials such as aluminium foil, kitchen utensils, coffee machines etc., for which no specific EU regulations exist. The text recommends the implementation of Specific Release Limits (SRL) in Council of Europe members states for metal ions that are released from materials in contact with foodstuffs.

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For example, nickel release should not exceed 0.14 mg/kg and lead should not be released in amounts greater than 0.010 mg/kg (as ion concentrations measured in food). Detailed instructions on how to perform laboratory testing are described.

Furthermore, the Committee of Experts P-SC-EMB has begun a review of the existing resolutions and technical documents that were elaborated under the former Council of Europe Partial Agreement in Social and Public Health Field (dissolved on 31 December 2008). Paper and board, cork, printed food-contact materials, coatings, and elastomers such as silicones and rubber, are amongst materials for which the Council of Europe has already established substance inventories.


Metals and alloys used in food contact materials and articles

A practical guide for manufacturers and regulators

Metals and Alloys 1st EditionMetals and alloys are used in food contact materials and articles in food processing equipment, containers and household utensils as well as in foil used to wrap food. Metal ions can be released from these materials, into foods and, if the release exceeds the toxicological reference values, it may endanger the health of the consumer or unacceptably alter the composition of the food or its organoleptic characteristics.

The new Technical guide covers general provisions and recommendations which can assist national policy-makers to adopt legislative and other measures aimed at reducing the health risks arising from consumer exposure to certain metal ions released into food from the contact with metals and alloys. It also provides technical information on specific release limits (SRLs) for metals and analytical methods for release testing of food contact materials and articles made from metals and alloys.

The Technical guide was prepared by the Committee of Experts on Food Contact Materials (P-SC-EMB) with the support of the former Consumer Health Protection Committee (CD-P-SC), the Steering Committee with responsibility for these activities. This new guide supersedes the previously established Guidelines on Metals and Alloys (first issued on 9 March 2001 and revised on 13 February 2002 under the former Council of Europe Partial Agreement in the Social and Public Health Field).

- The electronic version of the Guide can be downloaded for FREE online 
- The paper version is available for purchase at the EDQM Store.


A Slovenian version is now available online for free, thanks to the Slovenian Ministry of Health. For more information, please click here.

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