On January 10, 2019, law firm Keller and Heckman LLP (KH) reprinted an article from “Food Packaging Bulletin Issue 7 (2018) with the permission of the publisher Research Information.” The article builds on and updates the 2014 article by KH that gave an overview of food contact regulations in MERCOSUR (Mercado Común Del Sur or the ‘the Common Market of the South’) area.

The executive body of MERCOSUR is the Common Market Group (GMC), which issues recommendations known as “GMC Resolutions.” MERCOSUR member states “are required by the Protocol of Ouro Preto to transpose the GMC resolutions into national legislation and are bound by the MERCOSUR resolutions once the legislation is officially incorporated into national law.”

Currently, similarly to the situation in the EU, the full member states of the MERCOSUR (currently Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay) must “comply with a general safety standard [(GMC Res. No 03/92)] and applicable positive lists.” In addition, “finished food packaging must be registered . . . prior to sale” in all countries except Brazil, which requires registration only when “the finished food packaging product contains recycled materials.” Further, specific GMC resolutions have been issued for food contact “plastics; metals and lubricants for metal surfaces; glass and ceramic; cellulose (paper, paperboard, cardboard); regenerated cellulose; elastomers; adhesives; and paraffins.” Both “polymeric coatings intended for use on the interior of cans” and “polymeric coatings on paper and other substrates” have to “comply with MERCOSUR resolutions pertaining to food-contact plastics.”

MERCOSUR resolutions for food contact plastics include GMC Res. No. 56/92 (general provisions), as well as GMC Res. No. 02/12, which identifies a “positive list of monomers, polymers, and other starting substances that may be used in the manufacture of food-contact plastics,” and GMC Res. No. 32/07, establishing a positive list of additives for food-contact plastics. In summer 2018, an update for the latter resolution was presented as draft GMC Res. No. 05/18 (FPF reported).

MERCOSUR resolutions for food contact paper include GMC Res. No. 40/15 (general provision, also establishing “a positive list of additives used in paper and paperboard, including recycled fibers,” with exception of some paper categories), as well as GMC Res. No 41/15, which identifies “a positive list for cellulosic materials used to filter aqueous foods,” and GMC Res. No. 42/15 that “applies to cellulosic materials used in contact with food during cooking or oven heating, as well as microwave applications, and includes a positive list of components.”

In addition to GMC resolutions, each MERCOSUR member state has various “requirements that apply to food-contact materials marketed within the individual member state.” This makes for a “complex web” of food contact regulations within the MERCOSUR bloc and each of its member countries.

Read more

Keller and Heckman LLP (January 9, 2019). “Update: Food packaging regulations in Latin America.

Mitzi Ng Clark (April 16, 2014). “Food packaging regulations in Latin America: Moving towards harmonization.Packaging Law