On May 19, 2021, the European Directorate for the Quality of Medicines and Healthcare (EDQM) published a technical guide for “paper and board used in food contact materials and articles.” The guide aims to update the last policy statement on paper and board materials from 2009 and help harmonize paper and board food contact material (FCM) regulations across Europe. The guide defines terms such as “functional barrier” and “recycled material” for regulatory purposes, the general requirements paper and board FCMs must comply with, and the compliance testing options based on how the paper or board article will be used.
The authors gathered the migration limits for certain common paper and board constituent and contaminant substances along with reference to the substance’s relevant regulatory documents. All paper and board FCMs must be tested under “the worst reasonably foreseeable conditions of contact… with food” including up until the end of shelf life, or with any food preparation that includes the FCM. Inks and adhesives can sometimes contaminate recycled paper fibers if the original paper or board article was not used in food packaging. According to the guide, one can detect recycled fiber with UV illumination or transmission light microscopy and determine if further testing is necessary. The guide also provides links to the European national regulations concerning food contact materials made of paper and board.
As mentioned recently in a report by the European Consumer Organization (BEUC), there are few European-wide regulations on food contact materials made from paper and other plant fibers (FPF reported). This new guide from EDQM, following up on the adoption of the resolution on the safety and quality of materials and articles for contact with food by the Council of Europe in October 2020, aims to help standardize manufacturing and testing regulations of paper and board across Europe.
EDQM (May 19, 2021). “Paper and board used in food contact materials and articles.”
Committee of Ministers (October 7, 2020). “Resolution CM/Res(2020)9 on the safety and quality of materials and articles for contact with food.” Council of Europe