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Food contact materials and articles

In the field of consumer health, the EDQM helps ensure the safety of food contact materials articles in Europe, providing the secretariat of the European Committee for Food Contact Materials and Articles (CD-P-MCA). The CD-P-MCA was created to address emerging risks to human health arising from the use of food contact materials and articles, and is responsible for developing standards and policies that enhance consumer health protection in this field.

The Committee is composed of representatives of countries, which are parties to the Convention on the Elaboration of a European Pharmacopoeia. The Committee and its terms of reference have been established by the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers.

As the technical secretariat, the EDQM ensures close co-operation with equivalent bodies in other international institutions, in particular with the European Commission (EC).

Activities

The European Committee for Food Contact Materials and Articles (CD-P-MCA) develops standards and examines questions related to the safety and quality of food contact materials.

In October 2020, the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe adopted Resolution CM/Res(2020)9 on the safety and quality of materials and articles for contact with food. This instrument is expected to improve the protection of consumers from contaminants (metals, antioxidants, stabilisers, colorants, plasticisers, etc.) potentially released by material in contact with food, such as containers, work surfaces or packaging. These guidelines were elaborated by the European Committee for Food Contact Materials and Articles (CD-P-MCA) and supplement the relevant European Union and national regulations.

Overall, the resolution aims at harmonising regulatory approaches to consumer health protection across Europe. The annex to this resolution includes guiding principles for the implementation of suitable policies in the member states and technical guidance for specific materials, such as paper and board, metals and alloys, coatings or silicones.

Paper and board used in food contact materials and articles are the subject of a new Technical Guide that can be downloaded from FREEPUB. This guide includes Guiding Principles that apply to all food contact materials that are in the scope of Resolution CM/Res(2020)9, requirements for their quality and safety and instructions for compliance testing, the detection of recycled materials, supporting documentation and the declaration of compliance. This guide was prepared by a dedicated group of experts and approved by the European Committee for Food Contact Materials and Articles (CD-P-MCA) to improve the protection of consumers from contaminants in food that originate from contact with packaging or containers.

 

New multi-analyte methods for the determination of substances migrating from printing inks to dry food or food simulants were successful validated by inter-laboratory study among 11 control laboratories.  A detailed description of the methods can be downloaded from FREEPUB.

These methods were established under the aegis of the European Committee for Food Contact Materials and Articles (CD-P-MCA), following the 2020 adoption of the Resolution CM/Res(2020)9 on the safety and quality of materials and articles for contact with food, which aims at harmonising regulatory approaches to consumer health protection across member States by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe.

The multi-analyte methods are suitable for the determination of substances migrating from printing inks to food or food simulants using gas chromatography coupled to tandem mass spectrometry or liquid chromatography coupled to tandem mass spectrometry.

These methods are intended for competent authority laboratories and for private laboratories to assess the safety of food contact materials and articles.

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 available that presents this resolution and practical guidelines for its implementation. The guidelines have been agreed among 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. These texts recommend the implementation of specific release limits (SRLs) in Council of Europe member states for metal ions that are released from materials in contact with foodstuffs.

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.

The CD-P-MCA is reviewing further 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), such as cork, printed food-contact materials, coatings and elastomers such as silicones and rubber, are among materials for which the Council of Europe has already established substance inventories.

 

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