Food contact materials are all materials and articles intended to come into contact with foodstuffs, including packaging materials but also cutlery, dishes, processing machines, containers etc. The term also includes materials and articles which are in contact with water intended for human consumption but it does not cover fixed public or private water supply equipment.
The harmonisation at EU level of the legislation on food contact materials fulfills two essential goals:
§ The protection of the health of the consumers
§ The removal of technical barriers to trade
To this end:
§ Food contact materials should be safe and should not transfer their constituents into food in unacceptable quantities
§ Food contact materials should be manufactured in accordance with good manufacturing practice, which means that producers should have documented quality assurance and quality control systems in place
§ The material specific legislation establishes lists of authorised substances and limits for their transfer from food contact materials into food. A declaration of compliance needs to be issued by the different operators in the manufacture of the food contact materials to ensure the flow of compliance relevant information between food contact manufactures and food industry. The declaration should be based on appropriate supporting documentation