On December 16, 2013 the European Commission’s Directorate General for Consumer Health (DG SANCO) held its last working group meeting on food contact materials (FCMs) with representatives from Member States, industry and public interest (the Food Packaging Forum) in Brussels. Topics during the meeting addressed the forthcoming ceramics regulation, technical guidelines for testing migration from plastic FCMs, planned amendments to the existing plastics regulation EU 10/2011, and DG SANCO’s planning for 2014.

Currently, the Joint Research Centre (JRC) is working on developing migration testing methods for metals from ceramics and glass. Lead, cadmium and other elements are being tested as basis for setting migration limits in the forthcoming ceramics regulation. Finalization of this new regulation is not expected before 2015, with discussions on the draft regulation likely to be held in November 2014. The Commission explicitly urged industry and Member States to involve manufacturers of artisanal ceramic products, since new migration limits are likely to pose a challenge for these product groups. Currently discussed new migration limits for lead and cadmium are 10 and 5 µg/kg food, respectively.

The technical guidelines for EU 10/2011, the plastics regulation, will be available as first draft early next year for stakeholders’ comments. At the same time, DG SANCO is also working on amendments to the plastics regulation, covering text changes, technical issues and including new substances in the positive list for plastics starting substances and additives. The 5th amendment to the regulation is expected by summer 2014.

The EU officials also had some good news to report, stating that the long awaited guidance for Declarations of Compliance is now available.