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Fluorinated substances in food contact materials (FCM) of cardboard and paper

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Thursday, May 3, 2018


Fluorinated substances in food contact materials (FCM) of cardboard and paper

The Danish Veterinary and Food Administration (DVFA) has made some changes in relation to the assessment of total organic fluorine (TOrF) content in cardboard and paper for food contact.

Fluorinated substances belong to a group of chemical substances that are highly non-degradable and which can accumulate in humans and animals. There are several of these substances suspected of being carcinogenic, harmful to the immune system and of causing hormonal disorder. They are used to saturate food contact materials (FCM) from cardboard and paper (eg paper for baking, food wrapping paper and fast food packaging).

So far, Eurofins Consumer Product Testing has encouraged our customers to comply with the recommended limit value of the DVFA for the total organic fluorine content of 0.35 μg/dm² in cardboard and paper with direct food contact. This recommended limit value was replaced by a so-called Indicator Value of 10 μg / dm² (10 micrograms of organic fluorine per square-inch paper or cardboard) at the end of April.


Indicator Value

The DVFA has explained on their website, that the new indicator value has been introduced to help the industry assess whether cardboard and paper have been treated with organic fluorinated substances. Content under the new indicator value is considered as background pollution, and the company can thus use the value to ensure that the paper is not treated with organic fluorinated substances.

The DVFA emphasizes that the indicator value is not the same as a limit value. It is still permitted to use or manufacture cardboard and paper containing organic fluorine above the indicator value. However, as with all other substances in food contact materials, the content must not migrate to the food in harmful amounts.


Framework Regulation (EC) No 1935/2004- Article 3

High levels of organic fluorine may indicate that organic fluorinated substances have been used to impregnate/coat food contact materials. However, content above the new indicator value may also come from other sources such as the inks used or recycled paper.

The responsible company must always assess and document that food contact materials of cardboard and paper comply with Article 3 of the Framework Regulation (EC) No 1935/2004. This also applies to the content of substances that are derived from inks, impregnation of the paper or recycled paper and paper contents.

Due to the increased risk of contamination of many types of chemical substances, the Foodstuffs Agency generally recommends that recycled waste paper and paper is not used in contact with fatty foods.

The total organic fluoride (TOrF) analysis method or a new alternative organic fluoride (EOF) method of analysis can both be used for the measurement of organic fluorine in cardboard and paper packages.

Please feel free to contact us if you need advice on fluorides in cardboard and paper, or if you need analysis for organic fluorine compounds. Eurofins Consumer Product Testing offers both analyzes for TOrF as well as analyzes for individual fluorides.


For further information, please see the DVFA website about food contact materials