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Legal Compliance of Packaging Materials - EU

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Global legal compliance EU

Europe has laid down fundamental requirements on food packaging in Framework Regulation (EU) No 1935/2004. The main requirements are

  • Migrating substances must not endanger human health
  • Composition of food must not be changed in an unacceptable manner
  • Organoleptic properties must not be altered.

Material specific regulations and directives impose specific limits and restrictions for certain materials like ceramics, regenerated cellulose and plastic materials. Other materials like paper and board, adhesives or printing inks are not regulated on a European level. For these materials, national legislation, recommendations from institutes such as the German BfR or the Council of Europe or even voluntary industry guidelines need to be consulted to show compliance with the general safety requirements.

Council of Europe (CoE) Resolutions

  • No legal character. Examples: Metals and Alloys, Rubber, Silicone, etc.
  • For many non-regulated materials, only proof of safety according to Art. 3 of Regulation (EC) No. 1935/2004

National references (some examples)

  • Germany: LFGB
  • France: DGCCRF information notes DM-4B-COM-001/002/003/004
  • Italy: Ministerial Decree 21/03/1973, Ministerial Decree 140/2013, Ministerial Decree No. 195/2015
  • The Netherlands Commodities Act (Packaging and Consumer Articles) (Warenwet)
  • Spain (Real Decreto 847/2011) (adhesives, silicones, etc.)

Recommendations on voluntary basis, industry standards  (some examples)

  • Germany: BfR Recommendations
  • EuPIA guideline printing inks
  • BrC IoP Global Standard for Packaging and Packaging Materials
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