Ensuring that what we eat is safe not only relies on the analytical control of the food, but also includes the control of the material or object that is intended to be in contact with this food.
What are the materials and articles intended to be in contact with food?
They include all those designed to come into contact or which are already in contact with foodstuff and are specifically intended for that purpose and those which can be expected to come into contact or which can transfer their components during normal or foreseeable use. These products are widely distributed in the market and form a very large variety of families of materials from rubber, glass and textiles to silicones and plastics.
What products does it apply to?
When we see the pictogram we all think of a Tupperware container, however there are many other products such as gloves, aprons, tablecloths, covers and ham cords, water filters, threads and skins for sausages, conveyor belts, nonwovens and threads for infusions, bibs, cloths, reusable sandwich bags, clothing for the food industry, in short any material that may come into contact with food must meet legislative requirements, in terms of analysis, labelling and its associated documentation.
How are they controlled?
Generally speaking there are two regulations, regardless of the material in question, which must be complied with:
- EC Regulation 1935/2004, 27th October 2004, by the European Parliament and Council on materials and articles designed to come into contact with food.
- EC Regulation 2023/2006, 22nd December 2006, by the European Commission, on best practices in the manufacture of materials and articles designed to come into contact with food.
Materials intended to come into contact with food should not represent a danger to human health. All chemical substances used in manufacturing must be safe and stable in their formulation so that they do not migrate to food. Manufacturers and / or distributors must protect the safety of the materials to ensure that the quality and food safety is not affected by it and must also comply with the requirements established by good manufacturing practices.
Why the need for control?
These materials can release substances from their components to foods that they are in contact with, even if in very small quantities. This “migration” can compromise the quality of the material and, more importantly, consumer safety, which is why they are subject to strict safety regulations. The risk of regulatory breach, legal liabilities and product recalls can be reduced by checking the compliance of the material before placing it on the market. In Spain, official controls at national level are coordinated between the Autonomous Communities (CCAA) and the Spanish Agency for Consumption, Food Safety and Nutrition (AECOSAN). Specifically, they are described in the 16 MECA’S PROGRAM, whose objective is to reduce the appearance of risks linked to migration levels in packaging and materials in contact with food, in accordance with current legislation.
How can we help?
AITEX provides solutions to the various industries involved in manufacturing materials to be in contact with food at each stage of the supply chain, through the development of tests, materials inspection, training, and by providing support in documentation and labelling. We have an ENAC-approved laboratory according to ISO 17025 to carry out all necessary tests.