Intergraf and FTA Europe have come together to produce a guidance document for printing and converting companies which make printed food contact materials.
Intergraf is the trade association promoting and protecting the interests of the graphic industry at European level. FTA Europe represents the flexo printing industry, the main technology for printed packaging in Europe. Their Secretariats share an office in Brussels. Both organisations are engaged in advocacy towards the EU institutions, events, and Europe-wide industry projects.
Food contact materials are increasingly a topic of focus for both EU and national legislators in Europe. Concern about harmful chemical migration means that strict rules are in place which must be applied by printers and converters.
This document is a guide to the applicable legislation and the basic legal requirements for food packaging printers. The aim is to help printers demonstrate that they are legally compliant. The guide should be viewed as the basic best practice advice which all printers should follow.
The complexity of proving compliance is in part due to the lack of harmonised legislation at EU level for all substrates. As this guide was developed, the European Commission was reviewing all legislation applicable to food contact materials and announced that new legislation would be announced in 2022.
This guide serves the purpose of bringing together all legal requirements in the absence of a clear legal framework.
Regardless of size, all producers throughout the food contact material supply chain must fulfil their obligations under EU and national rules. With this in mind, we provide an ordered check list, so that printers can be sure that all steps have been followed, and risk of contamination has been minimised.
We also provide templates for the all-important declaration of compliance (by substrate) which you are very welcome to extract and use. As some national legislation may apply in your country of production or country of export, we advise you to supplement this guide with the recommendations of your national printing association. Details on how to contact your national experts are provided in the final section. Intergraf’s dedicated FCM Task Force will also produce shorter guides on specific topics, like testing, over the course of 2021.
Packaging is a highly innovative and growing market in Europe. Legislative updates will need to respond to this, particularly to ensure that small converters can easily demonstrate compliance with food safety rules.
We hope that you find this guide useful in ticking off all the necessary steps. Happy printing!